Asthma drug may reverse memory loss in dementia patients

A drug used for the treatment of can help reverse the cognitive impairments like caused by abnormal accumulations of a protein in patients with disease, breakthrough research on mice has shown.

Tau protein is the second-most important lesion in the brain causing and impairments in spatial learning among patients with Alzheimer’s, the first being abnormal levels of beta-amyloid proteins that clump together to form plaques that collect between neurons and disrupt cell function.

In the study, researchers from in Pennsylvania, US, engineered mice with abnormal levels of tau, which develop tau pathology — characterised by neurofibrillary tangles, disrupted synapses (the junctions between neurons that allow them to communicate with one another), and declines in memory and learning ability — as they age.

When the animals were 12 months old, the equivalent of age 60 in humans, they were treated with “zileuton” — approved by the for the treatment of

The results, published in the journal Molecular Neurobiology, showed that mice treated with “zileuton” experienced a 90 per cent reduction in the formation of leukotrienes — that are deregulated in and

In addition, levels of phosphorylated and insoluble tau, the form of protein that is known to directly damage synapses, were 50 per cent lower.

While untreated animals had severe synaptic deterioration, the synapses of treated tau animals were indistinguishable from those of ordinary mice without the

“We show that we can intervene after the is established and pharmacologically rescue mice that have tau-induced memory deficits,” said Domenico Pratico,

After 16 weeks, the zileuton treated tau mice performed significantly better on maze tests, suggesting a successful reversal of

was completely gone from tau mice treated with the drug. The therapy shut down in the brain, allowing the tau damage to be reversed,” Pratico said.

“This is an old drug for a new The research could soon be translated to the clinic, to human patients with disease,” he noted.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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