Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Screen finds an antidepressant and other drugs that might work against brain-wasting prion diseases

Date:
September 14, 2011
Source:
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine
Summary:
In a new study, researchers report that they have found several chemical compounds, including an antidepressant, that have powerful effects against brain-destroying prion infections in mice, opening the door to potential treatments for human prion diseases.

In a new study NYU School of Medicine researchers report that they have found several chemical compounds, including an antidepressant, that have powerful effects against brain-destroying prion infections in mice, opening the door to potential treatments for human prion diseases.

The researchers, led by Thomas Wisniewski, MD, professor of neurology, pathology and psychiatry, report their findings in the online journal PLoS ONE. Prion diseases are a family of rare progressive neurodegenerative disorders that affect both humans and animals. An unusual infectious agent, a prion -- a misshapen version of a normal cellular protein -- causes the fatal disorders. There are no treatments.

The researchers found that trimipramine, an antidepressant, and fluphenazine, an antipsychotic, have activity against prions. Since the drugs are already in clinical use, Dr. Wisniewski believes that doctors can test them in human patients with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the most common human prion disease.

Dr. Wisniewski and his colleagues previously found 68 chemical compounds, known as styryl-based compounds, bound tightly to amyloid-beta protein deposits in the brains of people who died of Alzheimer's disease. Since the disease-causing aggregates of amyloid-beta and prion proteins are widely believed to have similar structures, his team screened these 68 styryl-based compounds for their ability to inhibit prion infection in a standard cell culture. They found two that seemed both effective and non-toxic, and confirmed their effectiveness by showing that on average they markedly delayed the onset of symptoms in prion-injected lab mice. The styryl-based compounds also reduced the signs of disease in the mouse brains.

Dr. Wisniewski's team found similar results the antidepressant trimipramine and the anti-schizophrenia drug fluphenazine. Both are chemically related to the anti-protozoal drug quinacrine, which is known to slow prion infection in cell cultures, although it fails to protect prion-infected mice or humans. Their chemical differences from quinacrine apparently enable the two drugs to bind more tightly to toxic prion aggregates, and-like the styryl-based compounds-prevent these aggregates from assembling new copies of themselves.

"One of the trimipramine-treated mice stayed healthy throughout the 400-day study," Dr. Wisniewski says.

The National Institutes of Health funds Dr. Wisniewski's laboratory's work to develop potential prion-disease vaccines. Prion diseases in animals have been known to jump to the human population. A prion disease known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, also known as "mad cow disease") swept through cattle in Britain in the 1980s, infected humans via beef products, and killed more than 200 people worldwide.

Currently a prion disease known as chronic wasting disease (CWD) is spreading through the deer and elk population of North America. Humans are increasingly exposed to CWD, for example by eating venison, and although CWD so far doesn't seem transmissible to humans, it has been shown to infect other primates. Dr. Wisniewski and colleagues are testing an oral vaccine for CWD in deer and elk in Colorado.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Erika Chung, Frances Prelli, Stephen Dealler, Woo Sirl Lee, Young-Tae Chang, Thomas Wisniewski. Styryl-Based and Tricyclic Compounds as Potential Anti-Prion Agents. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (9): e24844 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024844

Cite This Page:

NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine. "Screen finds an antidepressant and other drugs that might work against brain-wasting prion diseases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110914115850.htm>.
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine. (2011, September 14). Screen finds an antidepressant and other drugs that might work against brain-wasting prion diseases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110914115850.htm
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine. "Screen finds an antidepressant and other drugs that might work against brain-wasting prion diseases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110914115850.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
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