Diabetes Drug ‘Significantly Reverses Memory Loss’ in Mice With Alzheimer’s

Source: Lancaster University

Summary: Researchers have found that a drug developed for diabetes could be used to treat Alzheimer’s and significantly reverse memory loss in mice through a triple method of action.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD), is a chronic neurodegenerative disease, characterized clinically by progressive memory loss and cognitive decline. Currently, there is no defined treatment to improve this condition. Epidemiological studies have shown that type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s. Most likely the underlying mechanism is that insulin signaling is impaired in the brains of AD patients. This motivated the researchers to investigate that drugs used treating diabetes could be helpful in treating AD as well. Researchers from the Lancaster University have found that a triple receptor drug developed for diabetes could be used to treat Alzheimer’s and significantly reverse memory loss in mice through a triple method of action. The study findings were published in the journal Brain Research.

Diabetes Drug Reverses Memory Loss in Alzheimer's mice

Credit: Lancaster University

This triple receptor drug has been used which acts in multiple ways to protect the brain from degeneration. It combines GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1), GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) and Glucagon which are all growth factors. The study used APP/PS1 mice, which are transgenic mice that express human mutated genes that cause Alzheimer’s.

In a maze test, learning and memory formation were much improved by the drug which also:

  • enhanced levels of a brain growth factor which protects nerve cell functioning.
  • reduced the amount of amyloid plaques in the brain linked with Alzheimer’s.
  • reduced both chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • slowed down the rate of nerve cell loss.

Prof. Holscher said, “These very promising outcomes demonstrate the efficacy of these novel multiple receptor drugs that originally were developed to treat type 2 diabetes but have shown consistent neuro- protective effects in several studies”,”Clinical studies with an older version of this drug type already showed very promising results in people with Alzheimer’s disease or with mood disorders.”

More Information: Jingjing 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”, Brain Research (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.brainres.2017.10.012

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