CaMKII - Cognitive Decline: Key Aging Mechanism Discovered

Summary: Researchers have identified the key mechanism that may be responsible for the cognitive decline observed in the natural aging process. They found that the mis-regulation of a brain protein known as CaMKII, vital for memory and learning, is linked to this decline.

Aging decreases S-nitrosylation, a process modifying specific brain proteins, including CaMKII, thereby impairing memory and learning ability. The findings point towards potential pharmacological strategies to normalize protein nitrosylation, potentially combating age-related cognitive decline.


Bayer said that aging in mice and humans both decrease a process known as S-nitrosylation, the modification of a specific brain proteins including CaMKII.

β€œThe current study now shows a decrease in this modification of CaMKII is sufficient to cause impairments in synaptic plasticity and in memory that are similar in aging,” Bayer said.

Normal aging reduces the amount of nitric oxide in the body. That in turn reduces nitrosylation which reduces memory and learning ability, the study said.

Research Paper: Closed access.
β€œDecreased nitrosylation of CaMKII causes aging-associated impairments in memory and synaptic plasticity in mice” by Ulli Bayer et al. Science Signaling