Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Malaria medication may help against one type of frontotemporal dementia

Date:
February 2, 2011
Source:
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Summary:
Scientists have found a promising approach for a possible treatment of so-called frontotemporal dementia, an Alzheimer's-like form of dementia.

Impact of Baf1A and chloroquine on progranulin levels.
Credit: C. Haass

Frontotemporal dementia is caused by a breakdown of nerve cells in the frontal and temporal region of the brain (fronto-temporal lobe), which leads to, among other symptoms, a change in personality and behavior. The cause of some forms of frontotemporal dementia is a genetically determined reduction of a hormone-like growth factor, progranulin. Scientists around Dr. Anja Capell and Prof. Christian Haass have now shown that various drugs that are already on the market to treat malaria, angina pectoris or heart rhythm disturbances can increase the production of progranulin. Accordingly, these drugs are good candidates for treatment of this specific form of frontotemporal dementia.

The work will be published in the online edition of the scientific journal Journal of Neuroscience on February 2nd, 2011.

Progranulin is needed in the human brain as a protective factor for sensitive nerve cells, too little progranulin therefore results in a progressive neuronal cell death. As for almost every other gene, there are also two copies of the progranulin gene in the cell. In patients with progranulin dependent frontotemporal dementia, one of the two copies is defective, leading to a 50% reduction in progranulin levels. To rescue the lack of progranulin, the Munich researchers tested various substances for their ability to stimulate the remaining progranulin production and identified a drug called bafilomycin (BafA1). They then examined the molecular mechanism underlying the impact of BafA1 on progranulin more closely. Growth factors such as progranulin are produced in cellular membrane inclusions, known as vesicles. BafA1 has an alkalizing effect on these vesicles: After administration of BafA1 the interior of the vesicles is less acidic -- and this increases the production of progranulin.

This observation encouraged the researchers to investigate further alkalizing substances for their ability to raise progranulin levels. Among the substances that passed the test were three drugs that are already on the market to treat various diseases: a medication for angina pectoris (bepridil), one for heart rhythm problems (amiodarone) and the widely used malaria drug chloroquine. Chloroquine increased the progranulin level not only in experiments with mouse cells to normal, but also in cells from patients with the defective progranulin gene.

In a clinical study in collaboration with the University of London, the team of Prof. Haass and Dr. Capell will now investigate whether chloroquine actually helps against progranulin dependent frontotemporal dementia. The human studies can be started very soon, as chloroquine has been used on countless patients, so that serious side effects are not to be expected. Even though the Munich scientists are optimistic, Prof. Haass warns against exaggerated hopes. "Experience shows that the step from cell and animal models to the patient is always connected with considerable difficulties. It will take several years until we know, whether chloroquine can be used as therapy for progranulin dependent frontotemporal dementia," says Haass.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Capell, S. Liebscher, K. Fellerer, N. Brouwers, M. Willem, S. Lammich, I. Gijselinck, T. Bittner, A. M. Carlson, F. Sasse, B. Kunze, H. Steinmetz, R. Jansen, D. Dormann, K. Sleegers, M. Cruts, J. Herms, C. Van Broeckhoven, C. Haass. Rescue of Progranulin Deficiency Associated with Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration by Alkalizing Reagents and Inhibition of Vacuolar ATPase. Journal of Neuroscience, 2011; 31 (5): 1885 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5757-10.2011

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Malaria medication may help against one type of frontotemporal dementia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110202102122.htm>.
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. (2011, February 2). Malaria medication may help against one type of frontotemporal dementia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110202102122.htm
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Malaria medication may help against one type of frontotemporal dementia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110202102122.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins