10 January 2018


Biologists have found an unexpected cure for Alzheimer's disease

RIA News

British biologists have found out that one of the new diabetes drugs affecting three growth genes has proved extremely effective in the fight against Alzheimer's disease, according to an article published in the journal Brain Research (Tai et al., Neuroprotective effects of a triple GLP-1/GIP/glucagon receptor agonist in the APP/PS1 transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease – VM).

"Clinical experiments that were conducted using the previous version of this drug have already shown that it can help people suffering from mental disorders. We were able to prove that its new version can also be used to fight Alzheimer's disease," said Christian Hoelscher from Lancaster University (in a press release Diabetes drug "significantly reverses memory loss" in mice with Alzheimer's – VM). It is believed that Alzheimer's disease occurs due to the accumulation of a pathogenic substance in neurons - the beta-amyloid protein. It is formed from scraps of the APP protein, which is involved in the processes of repairing damaged neurons and forming connections between them. Violations in the processing of molecules of this protein lead to the appearance of beta-amyloid plaques and the destruction of nerve cells.

In the last two years, biologists have made significant progress in understanding what causes this disease and what it is. For example, they recently found out that Alzheimer's disease can be contagious, discovered that beta-amyloid plaques can be an important part of the innate immune system, and found several promising methods of its treatment.

Helscher and his colleagues have been investigating an unusual link between Alzheimer's disease and type 2 diabetes and other metabolic diseases for several years. It is not yet clear what unites them, but scientists have noticed that elderly people suffering from insulin immunity are much more likely to become victims of senile dementia.

This observation led British biologists to suggest that drugs that effectively suppress the development of type 2 diabetes can also significantly affect the functioning of the brain in Alzheimer's disease. They tested this theory with the help of an as yet unnamed diabetes drug created in 2015 by a group of experts from Germany and Canada. This substance, which its creators call simply "triagonist", affects three growth genes in cells and makes them react more actively to insulin molecules.

Helscher and his colleagues added the drug to the food of mice whose DNA had been transplanted with a damaged version of the human APP gene. As observations have shown, rodents not only suffered less from diabetes, but also experienced fewer memory problems.

For example, they remembered much better where the exit from the maze, in which they were periodically placed by scientists: after about a week, they reached it twice as fast as their relatives who received food without a "triagonist". The reason for this was that the brains of mice were almost completely cleared of beta-amyloid plaques – they were about four times less than in other rodents with diabetes, and only two to three times more than in healthy ones.

Such an amazing effectiveness of triagonist, according to Helscher, allows him to claim the title of the most effective drug for Alzheimer's disease created over the past 15 years. However, it is too early to talk about this – first, researchers must prove that the effectiveness of its work increases as the dose increases, and test the safety for humans during long-term clinical trials.

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