Gene expression changes in the brain affect cognition during normal and pathological aging. Progress in understanding the cellular processes regulating gene expression networks in cognition is relevant to develop therapeutic interventions for age-related cognitive disorders. Synaptic efficacy mediating memory storage requires the activation of specific gene expression programs regulated, among others, by the transcription factor cAMP-response element binding protein (CREB). CREB signaling is essential for long-lasting changes in synaptic plasticity that mediates the conversion of short-term memory to long-term memory. CREB signaling has been recently involved in several brain pathological conditions including cognitive and neurodegenerative disorders. The β-amyloid (Aβ) peptide, which plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease, alters hippocampal-dependent synaptic plasticity and memory and mediates synapse loss through the CREB signaling pathway. The fact that altered CREB signaling has been implicated in other cognitive disorders including Huntington's disease and Rubinstein-Taybi and Coffin-Lowry syndromes suggests a crucial role of CREB signaling in cognitive dysfunction. In this review paper, we summarize recent findings indicating a role of CREB and its coactivators CREB binding protein and CREB-regulated transcription coactivator in cognition during normal and pathological aging. We also discuss the development of novel therapeutic strategies based on CREB targeting to ameliorate cognitive decline in aging and cognitive disorders. © 2011 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York.
- Alzheimer's disease
- CREB-regulated transcription coactivator (CRTC)
- Huntington's disease
- cAMP-response element binding protein (CREB)
- gene expression