Experimental diabetes drug could help fight Alzheimer's disease
(Medical Xpress)—A drug designed for diabetes sufferers could have the potential to treat neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, a study by scientists at the University of Ulster has revealed.
Type II diabetes is a known risk factor for Alzheimer's and it is thought that impaired insulin signalling in the brain could damage nerve cells and contribute to the disease.
To investigate this, Prof Christian Hölscher and his team at the Biomedical Sciences Research Institute on the Coleraine campus used an experimental drug called (Val8)GLP-1.
This drug simulates the activity of a protein called GLP-1, which can help the body control its response to blood sugar. The scientists treated healthy mice with the drug and studied its effects in the brain.
Although it is often difficult for drugs to cross from the blood into the brain, the team found that (Val8)GLP-1 entered the brain and appeared to have no side-effects at the doses tested.
The drug promoted new brain cells to grow in the hippocampus, an area of the brain known to be involved in memory. This finding suggests that as well as its role in insulin signalling, GLP-1 may also be important for the production of new nerve cells in the mouse brain.
The team found that blocking the effect of GLP-1 in the brain made mice perform more poorly on learning and memory task, while boosting it with the drug seemed to have no effect on behaviour.
The new findings, published this week in the journal Brain Research, are part of ongoing research funded by Alzheimer's Research UK, the leading dementia research charity.
Prof Hölscher, said: "Here at the Biomedical Sciences Research Institute, we are really interested in the potential of diabetes drugs for protecting brain cells from damage and even promoting new brain cells to grow. This could have huge implications for diseases like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, where brain cells are lost.
"It is very encouraging that the experimental drug we tested, (Val8)GLP-1, entered the brain and our work suggests that GLP-1 could be a really important target for boosting memory. While we didn't see benefits on learning and memory in these healthy mice, we are keen to test the drugs in mice with signs of Alzheimer's disease, where we could see real improvements."
Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "We are pleased to have supported this early stage research, suggesting that this experimental diabetes drug could also promote the growth of new brain cells. While we know losing brain cells is a key feature of Alzheimer's, there is a long way to go before we would know whether this drug could benefit people with the disease.
"This research will help us understand the factors that keep nerve cells healthy, knowledge that could hold vital clues to tackling Alzheimer's. With over half a million people in the UK living with the disease, learning more about how to keep our brain cells healthy is of vital importance. Funding for dementia research lags far behind that of other common diseases, but is essential if we are to realise the true potential of research like this."
The Biomedical Science Research Institute (BMSRI) in Coleraine, is one of 15 University Research Institutes at Ulster and ranked second in the UK in the last national Research Assessment Exercise in 2008.
The BMSRI has been conducting pioneering research to investigate the underlying causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of human degenerative diseases."
Provided by University of Ulster
- Anti-inflammatory drug blocks brain plaques Jun 24, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Cholesterol drug shows benefit in animal study of Alzheimer's disease Apr 03, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Diabetes drug metformin makes brain cells grow Jul 05, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- How culprit Alzheimer's protein wreaks havoc Mar 28, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Investigating the causes of Alzheimer's Nov 22, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Assumptions of Griffith's fracture theory
2 hours ago Any experts on Griffith's fracture theory? I am studying the subject and I am having hard time finding out if the theory is valid for all possible...
Current leading voltage or vice versa concept
3 hours ago Hello, I was wondering if there is a conceptual explanation for when current leads voltage or vice versa for capacitors or inductors with AC...
Angular Frequency of AC voltage
6 hours ago Hello, I am wondering, what is the physical interpretation of the angular frequency of AC voltage? I don't see the physicality of what the angle...
Modeling Rigid Body - Unsure about Euler angles and angular velocity
6 hours ago I'm modeling a single 3D rigid body in preparation for some more complicated modeling in order to gain a better understanding of Euler angles, the...
Function for a bullet's path
8 hours ago I've been mulling this over all weekend, and I've decided to get some help on this. The problem is writing a function to describe a bullet's path....
Elementary questions relating to Newton's laws of motion
9 hours ago i) If a wall breaks when it gets hit by a cannonball, did the wall exert an equal and opposite force on the cannonball? ii) Would the force...
- More from Physics Forums - Classical Physics
More news stories
Researchers have pinpointed a catalytic trigger for the onset of Alzheimer's disease – when the fundamental structure of a protein molecule changes to cause a chain reaction that leads to the death of neurons ...
Alzheimer's disease & dementia 13 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
A new study looking at sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and markers for Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and neuroimaging adds to the growing body of research linking the two.
Alzheimer's disease & dementia May 19, 2013 | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
The devastating effect of Alzheimer's disease on bilingual people has been thrown into focus in Canada, where the sudden loss of a second language can leave sufferers feeling like strangers in their own country.
Alzheimer's disease & dementia May 19, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Working with lab mice models of multiple sclerosis (MS), UC Davis scientists have detected a novel molecular target for the design of drugs that could be safer and more effective than current FDA-approved ...
Alzheimer's disease & dementia May 17, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
(HealthDay)—Older individuals with nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) seem to have a significantly reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD), according to a study published online May 15 in Neurology.
Alzheimer's disease & dementia May 16, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
Johns Hopkins researchers say they have discovered specific chemical alterations in two genes that, when present during pregnancy, reliably predict whether a woman will develop postpartum depression.
19 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Children who have suffered maltreatment are 36% more likely to be obese in adulthood compared to non-maltreated children, according to a new study by King's College London. The authors estimate that the prevention or effective ...
19 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(AP)—The decade-old law that transformed the battle against HIV and AIDS in developing countries is at a crossroads. The dream of future generations freed from the epidemic is running up against an era ...
3 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—A research team, led by Jeremy Barr, a biology post-doctoral fellow, unveils a new immune system that protects humans and animals from infection.
9 hours ago | 4.6 / 5 (12) | 4 |
Early-life exposure to traffic-related air pollution was significantly associated with higher hyperactivity scores at age 7, according to new research from the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Cincinnati Children's Hospital ...
4 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
New research suggests that a compound abundant in the Mediterranean diet takes away cancer cells' "superpower" to escape death. By altering a very specific step in gene regulation, this compound essentially re-educates cancer ...
12 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (11) | 2 |