Study Finds Enzyme Impacting Brain Aging

Study Finds Enzyme Impacting Brain Aging

A new study discovered a new enzyme which is linked with memory. The enzyme is produced in body on performing exercise and slows down brain aging.

The scientists worked on an observation that some parts of brain can grow. Saul Villeda researches aging at the University of California, San Francisco. He says that someone’s brain has not to remain the same just because he is old.

Exercise Produces Enzyme which Impacts Brain

He says that exercise has positive impact on brain. He thinks that the real problem is physical inactivity of older people. Obviously, because they are weak.

Villeda and his team researched about different factors which affect memory; and are induced by exercise.

“Can we actually then transfer the benefits of exercise without actually having to do the physical component of the exercise itself?” he asks.


Mice were used in the research. To find the particular enzyme, Blood plasma was taken from those mice which were considered in research. It was then infused into older mice. The older ones showed improvement in their brain and mental task in maze.

The researchers then tried to figure out the protein responsible for this. They worked on a dozen of proteins found in blood. A protein named GPLD1 was found to be the reason for the change.

The scientists then tried to produce the enzymes in the older mice. Nerves grew the brain of mice and they performed better in maze.

According to Villeda, exercise is the reason for the production of the enzyme. It also lowers the risk of inflammation which is related to brain damage. As a result, cognitive function improves in these older mice.

The researchers also observed older people at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center. Physical activity performed by the people was measured and the memory conditions were observed. Those who did more exercise produced more enzymes.

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Enzymes And Protein

Both, aging and exercise, are really complicated. So, it was not easy to understand whether one protein can do such big benefit.

Villeda says that he was surprised to see that one protein can make such big change. But then he found that GPLD1 changes almost 100 other proteins. So, it was acceptable.

Neuroscientist Bradley Wise at the National Institute on Aging says that understanding the relation between the two (exercise and enzyme) will take a long time. He says that identifying it completely and making pills for that will take much longer.

“This is one piece of the puzzle,” he says. There are a lot more things to be found and more research is to be performed on the topic. However, it has been confirmed that exercise has benefits.

According to the team, exercise is the natural way to produce the enzymes. However, they are trying to make medicine to benefit those who can’t, or don’t, perform exercise.

Willard “Bill” Freeman at the Oklahoma Medical Research says that he will not make GPLD1 and distribute in people. He says that the research has promising results but there is nothing known about side effects of the protein.

He says that further research should be performed and all aspects of the protein should be studied.

“There’s a lot more research to be done. And in the meantime, one of the things we can all do is exercise. We have that within our own power,” he says.

If a medicine is developed, it would help those people who can’t exercise on their own due to injuries or old age. However, it does not seem to happen in near future. At least, in the next 5 years, there would be no such medicine.

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