Cell death in aged nervous system

During the aging, we found that caspase was activated in the specific region of antennal lobe, brain structures required for olfaction. Detailed analysis revealed that caspase was activated in specific subsets of Drosophila olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs), Or42b and Or92a neurons in aged brain. These neurons are essential for mediating innate attraction to food-related odors. We tested whether caspase activation is involved in age-induced impairments of neural transmission and attraction behavior, and found that caspase inhibition only in these ORNs reversed the impairments of neural function and behavior.

Chihara, T., Kitabayashi, A., Morimoto, M., Taleuchi, K., Masuyama, K., Tonoki, A., Davis, R.L., Wang, J.W., and Miura, M.: Caspase inhibition in select olfactory neurons restores innate attraction behavior in aged Drosophila. PLoS Genetics 10, e1004437, 2014

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