Recombinant growth differentiation factor 11 influences short-term memory and enhances Sox2 expression in middle-aged mice

Behav Brain Res. 2018 Apr 2;341:45-49. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2017.12.019. Epub 2017 Dec 15.


Previous evidence suggests that a significant decline in cognitive ability begins during middle-age and continues to deteriorate with increase in age. Recent work has demonstrated the potential rejuvenation impact of growth differentiation factor-11 (GDF-11) in aged mice. We carried out experiments to evaluate the impact of a single dose of recombinant (rGDF-11) on short-term visual and spatial memory in middle-aged male mice. On the novel object recognition task, we observed middle-aged mice treated rGDF-11 showed improved performance on the novel object recognition task. However, middle-aged mice did not show increased expression of phosphorylated-Smad2/3, a downstream effector of GDF-11. We noted however that the expression of the transcription factor, Sox2 was increased within the dentate gyrus. Our data suggest that a single injection of rGDF-11 contributes to improvements in cognitive function of middle-aged animals, which may be critical in the preservation of short-term memory capacity in old age.

Keywords: Cognitive decline; GDF-11; Short term memory; Sox2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / drug effects*
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Aging / pathology
  • Aging / psychology
  • Animals
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Dentate Gyrus / cytology
  • Dentate Gyrus / drug effects
  • Dentate Gyrus / metabolism
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Growth Differentiation Factors / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Memory, Short-Term / drug effects*
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nootropic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / drug effects
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Random Allocation
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Spatial Memory / drug effects*
  • Spatial Memory / physiology


  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • GDF11 protein, human
  • Growth Differentiation Factors
  • Nootropic Agents
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors
  • Sox2 protein, mouse