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Alzheimer Therapy

By SEWilco in MLP
Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 05:20:28 PM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)

This UniSci article says that Neuron reports another treatment for Alzheimer's disease. In mice, chemicals which remove certain metals stopped or reduced the brain damage caused by the disease.

This zinc and copper chelating agent seemed to remove part of the plaque accumulation which causes so much trouble in the brain. Although the plaque has already caused damage, removing it will give the brain a chance to heal the damage. This treatment does not block the process which causes the plaque in the first place.


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Alzheimer Therapy | 7 comments (3 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
I had a very interesting comment to put here... (3.00 / 5) (#1)
by theboz on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 10:58:56 AM EST

...but I seem to have forgotten what it was. They better give me some of that medicine quick!

In the mean time, you can all respond with interesting replies to my would-be-interesting post.


early days, but could be good. (5.00 / 2) (#5)
by iGrrrl on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 05:26:44 PM EST

An editorial comment asked whether this was good science. I think the work is reasonable. Will it cure Alzheimer's? Who can say? I read the original article in Neuron, which is considered a quite reputable journal, and they certainly seem to be onto something. The important caveats are that this is in a transgenic mouse model which overexpresses one of the proteins found in AD plaques, and that the plaques formed in this mouse differ in some biochemical ways from those formed in AD humans. Still, these mice suffer physical and cognitive defects with age, and these problems improved with the treatment.

From the introduction:

CQ [the chelator used in the study] was used extensively as an oral antibiotic (Richards, 1971 ) before it was withdrawn in the early 1970s due to overdose-associated neurological side effects that are now believed to be preventable with B12 supplementation (Yassin et al., 2000 ).

Here we report the effects of CQ (oral treatment) on aged APP2576 Tg mice with advanced A-beta deposition. CQ treatment for 9 weeks markedly inhibited cerebral A-beta deposition by 375 g/g wet weight compared to sham-treated controls. These changes were accompanied by no adverse effects and a significant improvement in scores on a general behavior rating scale. These findings are strong support for the role of zinc and copper interaction with A-beta in the pathophysiology of AD and indicate that the CQ class of agents could have therapeutic utility in AD.

There is some precidence for the use of chelators with AD, but the difference in this study was that they chose a compound which would cross the blood-brain barrier. There are a number of reasons why chelating metals would work, but I feel the need to point out that Zinc and Copper are necessary for proper brain function. The chelators actually increase the free Cu and Zn in the brain as compared to controls, probably by breaking up plaques which could be serving as metal sinks. So the plaques probably hurt two ways -- by causing physical damage and by changing the metal biochemistry of the brain.

As for the human potential (quoting again from the original article):

A completed phase one clinical trial of CQ with B12 supplementation in AD patients revealed no adverse systemic, neurological, or cognitive effects (C.G. Gottfries and M.X., unpublished data).
So far it doesn't seem to hurt the patient (phase I trials are to screen for adverse affect, not benefit). Keep your fingers crossed on the possibility of benefit, but don't plan on seeing it advertised any time soon.

Full reference:
Neuron, Vol 30, 665-676, June 2001
Treatment with a Copper-Zinc Chelator Markedly and Rapidly Inhibits -Amyloid Accumulation in Alzheimer's Disease Transgenic Mice
Robert A. Cherny, Craig S. Atwood, Michel E. Xilinas, Danielle N. Gray, Walton D. Jones, Catriona A. McLean, Kevin J. Barnham, Irene Volitakis, Fiona W. Fraser, Young-Seon Kim, Xudong Huang, Lee E. Goldstein, Robert D. Moir, James T. Lim, Konrad Beyreuther, Hui Zheng, Rudolph E. Tanzi, Colin L. Masters, and Ashley I. Bush

You cannot have a reasonable conversation with someone who regards other people as toys to be played with. localroger
remove apostrophe for email.

hair (none / 0) (#6)
by slothman on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 02:20:40 AM EST

I read somewhere that smart people have more Zinc and Copper in their hair. I wonder if this is related?

Alzheimer Therapy | 7 comments (3 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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