Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

TGen and ASU researchers find drug that could reduce risk of Alzheimer's

04.02.2009
Drug used in stroke patients might also improve learning and memory, TGen and ASU researchers find

A drug used to improve blood flow to the brain also could help improve learning and memory and reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study released today by investigators at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and Arizona State University.

Fasudil has been used for more than 10 years to help protect the brain in stroke patients by dilating blood vessels when blood flow is curtailed.

Now, a team of Arizona psychologists, geneticists and neuroscientists report in today's edition of the journal Behavioral Neuroscience that hydroxyfasudil, the active form of the parent drug Fasudil, improved spatial learning and working memory in middle-aged rats when negotiating a complicated maze.

The findings suggest that hydroxyfasudil may influence similar cognitive processes in humans involving the hippocampus, a part of the brain that has been shown to deteriorate in patients with age-related disorders.

"If Fasudil proves to be safe and effective in enhancing learning and memory, it could represent a viable new option for the prophylactic treatment of disorders with a cognitive decline component. This could include diseases like Alzheimer's as well as general age-related impairment. In short, it may be a new pharmaceutical weapon that could be used even before the occurrence of symptoms," said Dr. Matthew Huentelman, an Investigator in TGen's Neurogenomics Division.

Clinical trials are being explored in the areas of cognitive impairment and dementia, said Huentelman, the scientific paper's first author.

Although far from proving anything about human use of the drug, the findings supports the scientific quest for a substance that could treat progressive cognitive impairment, cushion the impact of aging, or even enhance learning and memory throughout one's life span.

"Fasudil shows great promise as a cognitive enhancer during aging,'' said Dr. Heather Bimonte-Nelson, an Assistant Professor in ASU's Department of Psychology and the paper's lead author. "The effects in our aging-animal model were robust, showing enhancements in both learning and two measures of memory. The possibility that these findings may translate to benefits to human brain health and function is very exciting."

In the study, the researchers gave daily injections of hydroxyfasudil to middle-aged (17-18 months old) male rats, starting four days before behavioral testing and continuing throughout testing. Injection made it easy to give the drug to rats, but people take it in the form of a pill.

Rats were tested on a water radial-arm maze, which assessed how well they remembered which of the radiating arms had a reward, a sign of accurate spatial learning and working memory. Rats given a high dose (0.3750 mg per kg of weight) of hydroxyfasudil successfully remembered more items of information than those given a low dose (0.1875 mg per kg). Both dosed groups performed significantly better than control-group rats given saline solution. On this same test, the high-dose group showed the best learning (fewest total errors) and best working memory (measured two different ways).

For every test of learning, the scores of the low-dose group fell between the scores of the no-dose and high-dose groups, meaning that learning and memory boosts depended on the size of the dose.

Fasudil, is used to protect the brain by dilating blood vessels when blood flow is curtailed. In the body, Fasudil breaks down into the more potent hydroxyfasudil molecule, which the authors hypothesize may alter memory by affecting the function of a gene called KIBRA. The authors recently demonstrated that KIBRA might play a role in memory in healthy young and late-middle-aged humans.

Hydroxyfasudil inhibits the activity of Rho-kinase enzymes, which have been shown to inhibit Rac, a vital protein that supports key cellular functions. The authors speculated that blocking Rho-kinase enables Rac, in turn, to activate more of an enzyme called protein kinase C-zeta, which may in turn affect the KIBRA protein.

The authors received financial support from the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Research Foundation, the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the state of Arizona. They maintain that they have no competing financial interests. Four of the authors hold stock in Sygnis Pharma AG, a German pharmaceutical company that owns the rights to develop this drug class as a potential memory enhancer. They stated that Sygnis was not directly involved in this study, did not fund any part of it, and did not influence the decision to study these drugs or the conclusion.

The findings appear in the February issue of Behavioral Neuroscience, which is published by the Washington, D.C.-based American Psychological Association.

Article: "Peripheral Delivery of a ROCK Inhibitor Improves Learning and Working Memory," Matthew J. Huentelman, PhD, and Dietrich A. Stephan, PhD, Translational Genomics Research Institute, Phoenix, Arizona and Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium; Joshua Talboom, BS, Arizona State University; Jason J. Corneveaux, BS, David M. Reiman, undergraduate student, and Jill D. Gerber, BS, Translational Genomics Research Institute, Phoenix, Arizona; Carol A. Barnes, PhD, Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium and University of Arizona; Gene E. Alexander, PhD, Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium and University of Arizona; Eric M. Reiman, PhD, Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium and University of Arizona; Heather A. Bimonte-Nelson, PhD, Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium and Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona; Behavioral Neuroscience.

About TGen

The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit: www.tgen.org.

TGen Press Contact:
Steve Yozwiak
TGen Senior Science Writer
602-343-8704
syozwiak@tgen.org
Arizona State University Press Contact:
Skip Derra
(480) 965-4823
skip.derra@asu.edu
About the American Psychological Association
APA is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 148,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human welfare.
APA Press Contact:
American Psychological Association
Public Affairs Office
(202) 336-5700
public.affairs@apa.org

Steve Yozwiak | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.apa.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>