Recombinant growth differentiation factor 11 influences short-term memory and enhances Sox2 expression in middle-aged mice

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Previous evidence suggests that a significant decline in cognitive ability begins during middle-age and continues to deteriorate with increase in age. Recent work has demonstrated the potential rejuvenation impact of growth differentiation factor-11 (GDF-11) in aged mice. We carried out experiments to evaluate the impact of a single dose of recombinant (rGDF-11) on short-term visual and spatial memory in middle-aged male mice. On the novel object recognition task, we observed middle-aged mice treated rGDF-11 showed improved performance on the novel object recognition task. However, middle-aged mice did not show increased expression of phosphorylated-Smad2/3, a downstream effector of GDF-11. We noted however that the expression of the transcription factor, Sox2 was increased within the dentate gyrus. Our data suggest that a single injection of rGDF-11 contributes to improvements in cognitive function of middle-aged animals, which may be critical in the preservation of short-term memory capacity in old age.

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