Impaired Taste Associative Memory and Memory Enhancement by Feeding Omija in Parkinson's Disease Fly Model
Seeta Poudel, and Youngseok Lee*
Department of Bio and Fermentation Convergence Technology, BK21 PLUS project, Kookmin University, Seoul 02707, Korea
Received January 7, 2018; Revised April 3, 2018; Accepted May 20, 2018.; Published online June 25, 2018.
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Neurodegeneration can result in memory loss in the central nervous system (CNS) and impairment of taste and smell in the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The neurodegeneration seen in Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized by functional loss of dopaminergic neurons. Recent studies have also found a role for dopaminergic neurons in regulating taste memory rewards in insects. To investigate how taste memories and sugar sensitivity can be affected in PD, we utilized the DJ-1β mutant fruit fly, DJ-1βex54, as a PD model. We performed binary choice feeding assays, electrophysiology and taste-mediated memory tests to explore the function of the DJ-1β gene in terms of sugar sensitivity as well as associative taste memory. We found that PD flies exhibited an impaired ability to discriminate sucrose across a range of sugar concentrations, with normal responses at only very high concentrations of sugar. They also showed an impairment in associative taste memory. We highlight that the taste impairment and memory defect in DJ-1βex54 can be recovered by the expression of wild-type DJ-1β gene in the dopaminergic neurons. We also emphasized the role of dopaminergic neurons in restoring taste memory function. This impaired memory property of DJ-1βex54 flies also allows them to be used as a model system for finding supplementary dietary foods that can improve memory function. Here we provide evidence that the associative taste memory of both control and DJ-1βex54 flies can be enhanced with dietary supplementation of the medicinal plant, omija.
Keywords: DJ-1β, dopaminergic neuron, Schisandra chinensis (omija), taste memory, taste sensitivity

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30 June 2018 Volume 41,
Number 6, pp. 495~611

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