Scientists have genetically modified mice to be super-intelligent and found they are also less anxious, a discovery that may help the search for treatments for disorders such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Researchers from Britain and Canada found that altering a single gene to block the phosphodiesterase-4B (PDE4B) enzyme, which is found in many organs including the brain, made mice cleverer and at the same time less fearful.
“Our work using mice has identified phosphodiesterase-4B as a promising target for potential new treatments,” said Steve Clapcote, a lecturer in pharmacology at Britain’s Leeds University, who led the study. …
In the experiments, published on Friday in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, the scientists ran a series of behavioral tests on the PDE4B-inhibited mice and found they tended to learn faster, remember events longer and solve complex problems better than normal mice.
The “brainy” mice were better at recognizing a mouse they had seen the previous day, the researchers said, and were also quicker at learning the location of a hidden escape platform.