Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Diabetes drug makes brain cells grow

Date:
July 5, 2012
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
The widely used diabetes drug metformin comes with a rather unexpected and alluring side effect: it encourages the growth of new neurons in the brain, according to researchers. Their study also finds that those neural effects of the drug also make mice smarter.

New research finds that the widely used diabetes drug metformin comes with a rather unexpected and alluring side effect: it encourages the growth of new neurons in the brain.
Credit: iStockphoto/Guido Vrola

The widely used diabetes drug metformin comes with a rather unexpected and alluring side effect: it encourages the growth of new neurons in the brain. The study reported in the July 6th issue of Cell Stem Cell, a Cell Press publication, also finds that those neural effects of the drug also make mice smarter.

The discovery is an important step toward therapies that aim to repair the brain not by introducing new stem cells but rather by spurring those that are already present into action, says the study's lead author Freda Miller of the University of Toronto-affiliated Hospital for Sick Children. The fact that it's a drug that is so widely used and so safe makes the news all that much better.

Earlier work by Miller's team highlighted a pathway known as aPKC-CBP for its essential role in telling neural stem cells where and when to differentiate into mature neurons. As it happened, others had found before them that the same pathway is important for the metabolic effects of the drug metformin, but in liver cells.

"We put two and two together," Miller says. If metformin activates the CBP pathway in the liver, they thought, maybe it could also do that in neural stem cells of the brain to encourage brain repair.

The new evidence lends support to that promising idea in both mouse brains and human cells. Mice taking metformin not only showed an increase in the birth of new neurons, but they were also better able to learn the location of a hidden platform in a standard maze test of spatial learning.

While it remains to be seen whether the very popular diabetes drug might already be serving as a brain booster for those who are now taking it, there are already some early hints that it may have cognitive benefits for people with Alzheimer's disease. It had been thought those improvements were the result of better diabetes control, Miller says, but it now appears that metformin may improve Alzheimer's symptoms by enhancing brain repair.

Miller says they now hope to test whether metformin might help repair the brains of those who have suffered brain injury due to trauma or radiation therapies for cancer.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jing Wang, Denis Gallagher, Loren M. DeVito, Gonzalo I. Cancino, David Tsui, Ling He, Gordon M. Keller, Paul W. Frankland, David R. Kaplan, Freda D. Miller. Metformin activates an atypical PKC-CBP pathway to promote neurogenesis and enhance spatial memory formation. Cell Stem Cell, 6 July 2012 DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2012.03.016

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Diabetes drug makes brain cells grow." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120705172044.htm>.
Cell Press. (2012, July 5). Diabetes drug makes brain cells grow. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120705172044.htm
Cell Press. "Diabetes drug makes brain cells grow." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120705172044.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
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