Asthma medicine could serve to take care of Alzheimer's disease

Asthma medicine could serve to take care of Alzheimer's disease
A laboratory study has discovered that the asthma drug salbutamol prevents the forming of tangles of fibrous proteins that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. The next phase will be to test the drug in animal types of the disease.

About 50 million persons worldwide have dementia, and each year, there are practically 10 million new cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

They note that the most frequent form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which makes up about 60-70% of most cases.

In the usa, the National Institute on Aging estimate that more than 5.5 million persons have Alzheimer’s disease. A lot of them happen to be over 65 years.

The disease is a neurological disorder in which the death of brain cells results in progressive memory damage and cognitive decline.

While existing prescription drugs lessen the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and improve people’s quality of life, they neither slower its progression nor cure it.

The brains of individuals with the condition contain exclusive plaques between nerve cells, together with clumps of fibers referred to as neurofibrillary tangles inside cells.

The plaques contain a protein called beta-amyloid, while another protein called tau accocunts for the tangles.

Promising drug target
After clinical trials discovered that drugs that clear beta-amyloid from the mind didn't slow the disease’s progression, attempts to discover a treatment have shifted to tau.

Researchers at Lancaster University in britain believe that tau is actually a more promising medication target for Alzheimer’s disease. They indicate previous research, which found that in the absence of the tau neurofibrillary tangles, beta-amyloid will not seem to injury nerve cells.

Also, the quantity of tangles in the mind appears to be a far greater indicator of the severity of the disease than the quantity of amyloid plaques.

In healthy human brain cells, tau proteins help stabilize the inner network of microscopic tubes, or “microtubules,” that transports nutrients and other molecules around nerve cells.

In Alzheimer’s disease, these tau molecules break away from the microtubules and begin to stick along to create threads and, eventually, tangles. In turn, these disrupt the microtubule transport network.

The scientists from Lancaster University believe that compounds that prevent tau molecules from aggregating in this manner will make promising treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.

Giant microscope
To screen a lot more than 80 compounds for their capacity to block the formation of tangles, the researchers used a powerful strategy - synchrotron radiation circular dichroism - for imaging structural improvements in proteins.

This system involves illuminating samples with beams of light 10 billion times brighter compared to the sun. The U.K.’s Diamond Light Source (DLS) found in Oxfordshire, which experts have likened to a huge microscope, produced this light for the analysis.

One of the compounds that the DLS determined was first the hormone epinephrine, which stabilized tau proteins and prevented them from forming tangles.

The body rapidly metabolizes epinephrine, however, so the researchers continued to display four existing drugs with very similar chemical structures.

Of the, two were effective: a drug called dobutamine, which doctors use to take care of heart attacks and heart failure, and salbutamol (generally known as albuterol), which is obtainable under the brand Ventolin for treating asthma.

The scientists ruled out dobutamine as a practical treatment for Alzheimer’s disease since it requires injection, and its own effects are extremely short-lived.

Further tests in salbutamol suggested that it binds to specific tau molecules, preventing them from forming “nuclei” around which other protein molecules can aggregate.

The researchers published their findings in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.
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