Commonly-prescribed drugs may influence the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease

June 12, 2013

Multiple drug classes commonly prescribed for common medical conditions are capable of influencing the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease, according to researchers at The Mount Sinai Medical Center. The findings are published online in the journal PLoS One.

Led by Giulio Maria Pasinetti, MD, PhD, the Saunders Family Chair and Professor in Neurology at Mount Sinai, a research team used a to screen 1,600 commercially-available medications to assess their impact on the brain accumulation of beta-amyloid, a protein abnormally accumulated in the brain of Alzheimer's disease and implicated in . They found that currently-available medications prescribed for conditions such as hypertension, depression, and insomnia were found to either to block or to enhance the accumulation of beta-amyloid, the component of .

"This line of investigation will soon lead to the identification of common medications that might potentially trigger conditions associated with the prevention, or conversely the onset, of Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Pasinetti. "They may be a novel reference for physicians to consider when prescribing the most appropriate drug, particularly in subjects at high risk for Alzheimer's disease."

To validate the screening protocol, Dr. Pasinetti and his colleagues administered these drugs in mice that were genetically engineered to develop the hallmark amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease. After six months of treatment with blood pressure medicines, amyloid plaques and neurodegeneration were significantly reduced in the mice. One such medicine was Carvedilol, now under in Alzheimer 's disease with the intent to slow down memory deterioration.

"In recent years, amyloid plaques have become one of the main focal points in the search to understand and to treat Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Pasinetti. "Thus, identifying treatments that prevent harmful beta-amyloid generation will help in the development of treatments for Alzheimer's disease. For example, one very exciting finding of our study is that , already approved for treatment of hypertension, may immediately become a promising drug for the treatment of Alzheimer's as well."

The authors discuss the limitations of the research, noting that studies must be immediately verified in human-safety studies that examine the effects of the drugs independent of the original indication. Dr. Pasinetti hopes these findings will lead to multiple clinical trials in the future to identify preventive drugs, which will need to be prescribed at tolerable dosages.

"If we can repurpose drugs currently used for different indications, such as lowering blood pressure, this could have dramatic implications for this population," said Dr. Pasinetti.

Explore further: Alzheimer's brain change measured in humans

Related Stories

Alzheimer's brain change measured in humans

June 12, 2013
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have measured a significant and potentially pivotal difference between the brains of patients with an inherited form of Alzheimer's disease and healthy family ...

Carmustine decreases amyloid beta plaques

March 25, 2013
Long term treatment by carmustine, a chemical relative of mustard gas and already used to treat some types of brain cancer, can decrease the amount of amyloid β and number of amyloid plaques in a mouse model of Alzheimer's ...

Intravenous vaccination promotes brain plasticity and prevents memory loss in Alzheimer's disease

April 23, 2012
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an incurable, progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting over five million people worldwide, and is the leading cause of dementia in the elderly. Currently, intravenous human immunoglobulin ...

A new strategy required in the search for Alzheimer's drugs?

May 24, 2013
In the search for medication against Alzheimer's disease, scientists have focused – among other factors – on drugs that can break down Amyloid beta (A-beta). After all, it is the accumulation of A-beta that causes the ...

It's not just amyloid: White matter hyperintensities and Alzheimer's disease

February 19, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—New findings by Columbia researchers suggest that along with amyloid deposits, white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) may be a second necessary factor for the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Recommended for you

Lifestyle changes to stave off Alzheimer's? Hints, no proof

July 20, 2017
There are no proven ways to stave off Alzheimer's, but a new report raises the prospect that avoiding nine key risks starting in childhood just might delay or even prevent about a third of dementia cases around the world.

Blood test identifies key Alzheimer's marker

July 19, 2017
A new study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that measures of amyloid beta in the blood have the potential to help identify people with altered levels of amyloid in their ...

Steering an enzyme's 'scissors' shows potential for stopping Alzheimer's disease

July 19, 2017
The old real estate adage about "location, location, location" might also apply to the biochemical genesis of Alzheimer's disease, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

Brain scans may change care for some people with memory loss

July 19, 2017
Does it really take an expensive brain scan to diagnose Alzheimer's? Not everybody needs one but new research suggests that for a surprising number of patients whose memory problems are hard to pin down, PET scans may lead ...

Can poor sleep boost odds for Alzheimer's?

July 18, 2017
(HealthDay)— Breathing problems during sleep may signal an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease, a trio of studies suggests.

Hearing is believing: Speech may be a clue to mental decline

July 17, 2017
Your speech may, um, help reveal if you're uh ... developing thinking problems. More pauses, filler words and other verbal changes might be an early sign of mental decline, which can lead to Alzheimer's disease, a study suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.