Potential Alzheimer's medication shows promise in mouse model of neurodegenerative disease

December 19, 2016, JCI Journals

Memory loss and other cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer's disease are attributed, in part, to the degeneration of acetylcholine-producing neurons. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are a common treatment for patients with Alzheimer's; however, in spite of their clinical benefits, these non-selective medications are also associated with numerous adverse effects. It has been hypothesized that more selective targeting of acetylcholine signaling may reduce the side effects associated with current Alzheimer's medications, but it's not known whether improving selectivity could decrease the treatment's efficacy.

This month in the JCI, work led by Andrew Tobin at the University of Leicester tested two drugs that specifically target the M1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor in a of neurodegeneration and discovered that the treatments had promising effects.

The mouse model showed many hallmarks of human Alzheimer's disease, including and progressive hippocampal neuron degeneration.

Treatment with the M1-selective medications reversed memory deficits and profoundly extended the lifespan of the diseased mice. These findings support the concept that more specific drugs can be effective in treating the of neurodegenerative disease.

Future work is needed to determine whether these potential medications are effective in humans, and whether the improved targeting actually leads to fewer side effects.

Explore further: Alzheimer's advance: Early stage study in mice show new drugs restore memory loss and prolong life

More information: Sophie J. Bradley et al, M1 muscarinic allosteric modulators slow prion neurodegeneration and restore memory loss, Journal of Clinical Investigation (2016). DOI: 10.1172/JCI87526

Related Stories

Alzheimer's advance: Early stage study in mice show new drugs restore memory loss and prolong life

December 19, 2016
"We have treated mice with a new type of drug, and found that these drugs can not only improve symptoms of brain degeneration, such as cognitive decline, but can also extend the life-span of these terminally-sick mice. Our ...

Scientists uncover potential driver of age- and Alzheimer's-related memory loss

December 8, 2016
Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have made an important discovery toward the development of drugs to treat age-related memory loss in diseases like Alzheimer's. They found that reduced ...

Lipid-based diets effectively combat Alzheimer's disease in mouse model

February 10, 2016
Alzheimer´s disease (AD) is the most common disease underlying memory problems and dementia in the elderly. One of the invariable pathologies in AD is degeneration of cholinergic synapses in brain cortex and hippocampus. ...

How drugs can help your brain encode memories

January 14, 2016
Medical researchers at the University of Bristol have uncovered a fundamental mechanism that explains the interaction between brain state and the neural triggers responsible for learning. The discoveries, made by researchers ...

Understanding how chemical changes in the brain affect Alzheimer's disease

June 22, 2016
A new study from Western University is helping to explain why the long-term use of common anticholinergic drugs used to treat conditions like allergies and overactive bladder lead to an increased risk of developing dementia ...

Memory loss not enough to diagnose Alzheimer's

September 13, 2016
Relying on clinical symptoms of memory loss to diagnose Alzheimer's disease may miss other forms of dementia caused by Alzheimer's that don't initially affect memory, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.

Recommended for you

Alzheimer's disease: Neuronal loss very limited

January 17, 2018
Frequently encountered in the elderly, Alzheimer's is considered a neurodegenerative disease, which means that it is accompanied by a significant, progressive loss of neurons and their nerve endings, or synapses. A joint ...

Anxiety: An early indicator of Alzheimer's disease?

January 12, 2018
A new study suggests an association between elevated amyloid beta levels and the worsening of anxiety symptoms. The findings support the hypothesis that neuropsychiatric symptoms could represent the early manifestation of ...

One of the most promising drugs for Alzheimer's disease fails in clinical trials

January 11, 2018
To the roughly 400 clinical trials that have tested some experimental treatment for Alzheimer's disease and come up short, we can now add three more.

Different disease types associated with distinct amyloid-beta prion strains found in Alzheimer's patients

January 9, 2018
An international team of researchers has found different disease type associations with distinct amyloid-beta prion strains in the brains of dead Alzheimer's patients. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National ...

Advances in brain imaging settle debate over spread of key protein in Alzheimer's

January 5, 2018
Recent advances in brain imaging have enabled scientists to show for the first time that a key protein which causes nerve cell death spreads throughout the brain in Alzheimer's disease - and hence that blocking its spread ...

Molecular mechanism behind HIV-associated dementia revealed

January 5, 2018
For the first time, scientists have identified and inhibited a molecular process that can lead to neurodegeneration in patients with HIV, according to a Northwestern Medicine study published in Nature Communications.

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.