a protein crucial to learning and memory
a polyphenol found in red grapes, tea and cocoa, that has been implicated in mouse studies in significantly reducing cognitive deterioration by preventing the formation of amyloid beta
- catecho-O-methyltransferase gene
codes for the enzyme that metabolizes neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine, and comes in two common versions (met and val -- met contains the amino acid methionine at a point in its chemical sequence where val contains a valine). The COMT gene, like the BDNF gene, has been implicated in schizophrenia as well as cognitive function.
is a protein, a subunit of gamma-secretase. Only recently discovered, it is thought to regulate the production of the toxic beta-amyloid peptides. CD147 is expressed in many tissues and has many functions, including a neural function: when the CD147 gene is deleted in mice, the result is defective nervous system development, loss of working memory, spatial learning deficits, and disorientation.
are a group of lipid-signaling molecules implicated in programmed cell death. Ceramide can stimulate growth or bring about cell death; which of these occurs is determined by contextual factors. Ceramide content is significantly increased in skeletal muscle in insulin-resistant obese humans. Ceramides have been implicated in ischemic stroke and Parkinson's. Ceramide content is high in the white matter of those with Alzheimer's, peaking at the stage of very mild dementia.
- cerebrospinal fluid
a clear salty liquid which cushions the brain
- chandelier cells
named for their structural resemblance to an old-fashioned candlestick. A rare type of GABAergic neuron (one that releases gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA)) found in the cerebral cortex that is strongly connected to many excitatory pyramidal cells.
- choline acetyltransferase
synthesizes acetylcholine in neurons and other cells. Decreases in ChAT activity are associated with a number of diseases, including Alzheimer's. Interestingly, older people with mild cognitive impairment have been found to have higher levels of ChAT; it's suggested that this reflects the brain's attempt to maintain normal function as neurons die.
- cholinesterase inhibitors
are drugs that slow the breakdown of acetylcholine (see donepezil; rivastigmine; galantamine). Most of the drugs approved for the treatment of Alzheimer's are cholinesterase inhibitors.
an experimental drug that binds zinc and copper, shown to lower the levels of beta amyloid. A small-scale clinical trial had some success in slowing cognitive decline in patients with moderate-to-severe Alzheimer's.
- cognitive reserve
the idea that education and mental stimulation during a lifetime can give older adults a cognitive reserve or neuroplasticity that can reduce the effect of brain abnormalities on cognitive function, allowing them to function normally for longer in the presence of such brain abnormalities.
new memories are initially 'labile' and sensitive to disruption before undergoing a series of processes (e.g., glutamate release, protein synthesis, neural growth and rearrangement) that render the memory representations progressively more stable. It is these processes that are generally referred to as “consolidation”.
- corticotropin-releasing factor
a neuropeptide released in the brain in response to stress, linked to increased levels of brain cell communication and implicated in increases in amyloid beta production. Different receptors - CRF1 AND CRF2 - have been respectively implicated in worsening and protecting the effects of stress on tau protein.
cAMP response element–binding protein, an adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate response element–binding protein; implicated in keeping memories stable, and more recently seen to be involved in determining which neurons store memories.
- cyclic adenosine monophosphate
a messenger chemical formed from ATP, that affects the ability of an action potential to continue.
small proteins that regulate immunity and inflammation
Glossary of neurological terms
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