Researchers from Yale School of Medicine have identified the compound TC-2153, which inhibits the negative effects of a protein called STriatal-Enriched tyrosine Phosphatase (STEP), which is key to regulating learning and memory.
Lead author Paul Lombroso and the co-authors studied thousands of small molecules in mice, searching for those that would inhibit STEP activity and found a reversal of deficits in several cognitive exercises that gauged the animals' ability to remember previously seen objects.
Lombroso said that the small molecule inhibitor was the result of a five-year collaborative effort to search for STEP inhibitors. A single dose of the drug resulted in improved cognitive function in mice. Animals treated with TC compound were indistinguishable from a control group in several cognitive tasks.
The findings are publishing in the journal PLOS Biology.