Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Experimental drug reverses key cognitive deficits, pathology in Alzheimer’s

02.03.2006


A new drug that enhances the activity of a key brain cell receptor involved in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) reverses learning and memory deficits in mice engineered to have pathological hallmarks of the disease. What’s more, the drug, called AF267B, reduces both of the pathologies--the brain-clogging buildup of protein "amyloid plaque" outside brain cells and the protein "neurofibrillary tangles" inside the cells.



In an article in the March 2, 2006, issue of Neuron, Dr. Frank LaFerla of the University of California, Irvine and his colleagues reported the first in vivo studies of the drug’s effects. AF267B was developed by coauthor Abraham Fisher to activate particular receptors for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. These specific receptors, called M1 receptors, are abundant in areas of the brain--the cortex and hippocampus--known to develop severe deposits of plaques and tangles in AD patients. Dysfunction in acetylcholine receptors has been shown to be characteristic of early stages of AD.

Receptors are proteins on the neuronal surface that are triggered by the chemical signals called neurotransmitters. This triggering initiates such cellular responses as the wave of electrical excitation of a nerve impulse.


As an animal model of AD, the researchers used a "triple knockout" mouse in which three key genes involved in normal brain protein processing pathways had been knocked out, creating both amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.

In their experiments, the researchers gave the knockout mice eight weeks of daily doses of AF267B and tested the animals’ learning and memory abilities. One test involved measuring how well the treated animals could learn to find a submerged platform in a tank of murky water. This test is known to depend on the function of the hippocampus. The researchers found that the treated mice performed significantly better than untreated knockout mice on the task.

Significantly, found the researchers, the poorer performance of the untreated mice resulted from their relative inability to remember from day-to-day the location of the platform.

In another memory test, however, the treated mice did not show improved performance compared to untreated mice. In this test--which depends on the function of another Alzheimer’s-affected brain region called the amygdala--the mice were required to learn to associate a dark chamber with an unpleasant shock.

Analyzing the brain tissue of the untreated and treated mice, the researchers found that treatment with AF267B reduced levels of both pathological plaques and tangles in the cortex and hippocampus, but not in the amygdala.

In experiments that demonstrated the central role of M1 receptors in AD-like pathology, the researchers also tested the effects on the mice of another drug, dicyclomine, that blocks M1 receptors. They found that both normal and knockout mice treated with the drug showed the characteristic learning and memory impairments, as well as amyloid and tangle pathologies.

The researchers also studied the effects of AF267B treatment on key enzymes involved in amyloid protein processing in the cell. They found evidence that the drug appears to work by affecting levels of these enzymes, as a result of its enhancement of M1 receptor activity.

The researchers concluded that "the results of the present study show the remarkable therapeutic potential of AF267B in attenuating the major hallmark neuropathological lesions relevant to AD and in restoring cognitive function, at least for certain tasks." They also pointed out the importance of the finding that administering dicyclomine to block M1 receptors exacerbated the disease pathologies.

"Further work, including clinical trials in humans, will be necessary to determine if this new generation of M1 agonists will produce a similar therapeutic efficacy as was observed in the [knockout] mice," they concluded.

Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cell.com
http://www.neuron.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How molecules teeter in a laser field
18.01.2019 | Forschungsverbund Berlin

nachricht Discovery of enhanced bone growth could lead to new treatments for osteoporosis
18.01.2019 | University of California - Los Angeles

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Additive manufacturing reflects fundamental metallurgical principles to create materials

18.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

How molecules teeter in a laser field

18.01.2019 | Life Sciences

The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease

18.01.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>