Have you ever reached for a cup of coffee to help you power through a long day at work or stay awake during a late-night study session? If so, you're in good company - caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive substanceA drug or other substance that affects how the brain works and causes changes in mood, awareness, thoughts, feelings, or behavior. on the planet, and around 80% of people worldwide consume it in some form or another. But what exactly is it about caffeine that makes it so popular and effective?
Well, for starters, caffeine has the ability to improve your overall well-being and boost certain brain functions. For example, people who regularly consume caffeine have been found to have a lower risk of cognitive decline and a higher chance of living a longer life. But that's not all - caffeine has also been shown to improve memory, possibly by influencing the activity of a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which plays a key role in learning.
But how does caffeine achieve all of these benefits? It turns out that this powerful stimulant can enhance the way the brain sends signals between cells and strengthen the connections within the brain. In other words, caffeine can give your brain a bit of a boost, making it easier for it to process and retain new information.
Most of the information we have about how caffeine affects memory formation comes from studies that only looked at the effects of short-term caffeine exposure. This means that we don't know much about the effects of regularly consuming caffeine over a long period of time. Caffeine is known to block the effects of adenosine, a chemical in the brain that makes you feel tired. In other words, caffeine can help keep you awake. However, the exact way in which caffeine has long-term effects on the brain is not well understood. To better understand these effects, researchers used a combination of techniques to study the impact of chronic caffeine consumption on different aspects of the mouse hippocampus, including the epigenome (chemical changes to DNA), transcriptome (gene activity), proteome (protein production), and metabolome (chemical changes to molecules).
Long-term caffeine intake has some interesting effects on the brain. When researchers looked at the bulk hippocampus tissue of mice, they found that caffeine reduced the amount of lipids in cells and mitochondria, as well as impacting how cells made proteins. However, when they looked at the hippocampus as a whole, caffeine didn't seem to affect brain development. But when they zeroed in on neurons, they found that caffeine caused changes in genes related to memory and learning. Caffeine also increased the number of proteins that help nerve cells communicate, leading to better transcriptional activity in the hippocampus. In other words, caffeine seems to not only increase the number of connections between brain cells, but also make them work more efficiently.
By using various scientific techniques, the authors of the study were able to understand how changes in the genome, RNA, proteins, and chemicals in the body can affect learning after caffeine intake. They found that regular coffee drinkers are better at encoding new information and learning overall, likely because caffeine helps the body turn nutrients into energy more effectively. The study also highlights the need to further investigate the molecular impact of caffeine on the brain and how it may regulate brain activity. Additionally, the data from this study may have important implications for understanding how caffeine affects the development of the brain and for studying diseases like Alzheimer's that are characterized by problems with brain cell communication.
Original article can be read by clicking on the badge below.
Authors: Isabel Paiva, Lucrezia Cellai, Céline Meriaux, Lauranne Poncelet, Ouada Nebie, Jean-Michel Saliou, Anne-Sophie Lacoste, Anthony Papegaey, Hervé Drobecq, Stéphanie Le Gras, Marion Schneider, Enas M Malik, Christa E Müller, Emilie Faivre, Kevin Carvalho, Victoria Gomez-Murcia, Didier Vieau, Bryan Thiroux, Sabiha Eddarkaoui, Thibaud Lebouvier, Estelle Schueller, Laura Tzeplaeff, Iris Grgurina, Jonathan Seguin, Jonathan Stauber, Luisa V Lopes, Luc Buée, Valérie Buée-Scherrer, Rodrigo A Cunha, Rima Ait-Belkacem, Nicolas Sergeant, Jean-Sébastien Annicotte, Anne-Laurence Boutillier, David Blum
You may also like:
Get updated from Outread. Subscribe to our newsletter to get 50% off on the monthly subscription.