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15 - 05 - 2017

Alzheimer's: two known molecules limit neurodegeneration in mice

Two known therapeutic molecules could be effective against neurodegenerative diseases, and in particular Alzheimer's disease. This is what has emerged from a study in mice.

Alzheimer's: two known molecules limit neurodegeneration in mice
 Based on the premise that patients currently suffering from neurodegenerative diseases are in urgent need of drugs, the Alzheimer's Society Dementia Research in the United Kingdom is seeking to rapidly develop new treatments. The organization thus funds research to find out if some of the therapeutic molecules already used are also effective to heal neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.In mid-April, a study partially funded by this body discovered that two known molecules help stop the degeneration of neurons and restore memory in mice. These two molecules were chosen from a database of 1040 molecules. They were retained because they intervene in the "response to badly folded proteins", a mechanism that is over activated in neurodegenerative diseases, and which causes the death of neurons.  Sick mice recover from memory loss and live longer To mimic Alzheimer's disease, the researchers used mice suffering from a prion disease, similar to Creutzfeldt-Jakob. This is one of the reference models for studying neurodegenerative diseases in mice.The two molecules, trazodone hydrochloride (used as an antidepressant) and dibenzoylmethane (anticancer medication) were administered separately into two mice, while a third group received a placebo. All mice were then subjected to cognitive tests. And their brains were then compared.RESULTS: Both drugs restored spatial memory in mice, stopped the degeneration of neurons and reduced cerebral shrinkage, characteristic of neurodegenerative diseases. These two molecules also extended the survival of the treated mice.  The advantage of testing molecules already used for other purposes Excited by these initial results in animals, researchers hope to find these beneficial effects in humans in order to rapidly commercialize the treatment. The team has a big head start, since trazodone is already marketed to treat depression and anxiety, including in the elderly. Its safety and tolerability are therefore already known. Hence, if these effects are found in patients, the time between clinical trials and the commercialization of this molecule could be shortened. Hélène Bour  For more information :