Epigenetic effects of learning and memory in the I-Ppo-I mouse
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The epigenetics of the aging brain is a growing field of study that holds great promise for the discovery of mechanisms and potential treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. In this current study, a novel, accelerated aging murine model, the I-PpoI/Cre, or ICE (Inducible Changes in the Epigenome) mouse, is studied to test its potential for demonstrating the theory of the rearrangement of chromatin (RCM) as the main cause of aging, and in particular, the mechanism through which the brain ages. Immunohistochemistry and behavioral assays are utilized to determine whether there are morphological changes, inflammatory response, and changes in learning and memory. Results showed a significant increase in microglia and astrocytes, markers of inflammation, in I-PpoI/Cre mice compared to their Cre controls. Long term memory performance was also significantly decreased in the I-PpoI/Cre mice, demonstrated through contextual fear conditioning (CFC) testing, and Morris Water Maze (MWM) testing. Results from this study are in support of the I-PpoI/Cre mouse as a model of accelerated aging of the brain, with deficits in learning and memory. Further studies are needed to further characterize this murine model of accelerated aging.