Compounds May Help Combat Brain Diseases

Nov 07, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas and Southern Methodist University (SMU) have identified a group of chemical compounds that slows the degeneration of neurons, a condition that causes such common diseases of old age as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Their findings are being featured in the current (November 2008) edition of Experimental Biology and Medicine.

UT Dallas Biology Professor Santosh D’Mello and SMU Chemistry Professor Edward R. Biehl tested 45 chemical compounds, four of which were found to be the most potent at protecting brain cells, called neurons.

The synthesized chemicals, called “3-substituted indolin-2-one compounds,” are derivatives of another compound called GW5074, which was shown to prevent neurodegeneration in a past report published by the D’Mello lab. Although effective at protecting neurons from decay or death, GW5074 is toxic to cells at slightly elevated doses, which makes it unsuitable for clinical testing in patients. The newly identified, second-generation compounds maintain the protective feature of GW5074 but are not toxic — even at very high doses — and hold promise in halting the steady march of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

“Sadly, neurodegenerative diseases are a challenge for our elderly population,” D’Mello said. “People are living longer and are more impacted by diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis than ever before — which means we need to aggressively look for drugs that treat diseases. But most exciting now are our efforts to stop the effects of brain disease right in its tracks. Although the newly discovered compounds have only been tested in cultured neurons and mice, they do offer hope.”

The most common cause of neurodegenerative disease is aging. Current medications alleviate the symptoms but do not affect the underlying cause — degeneration of neurons. The identification of compounds that inhibit neuronal death is thus of urgent and critical importance.

The new compounds may offer doctors an option beyond just treating the symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases. The development isn’t a cure, but doctors may be able to one day use compounds that stop cell death in combination with currently existing drugs that battle the symptoms of brain diseases. The combination of stopping the disease in its tracks while treating disease symptoms can offer hope to people suffering and the families impacted by these diseases.

Provided by University of Texas at Dallas

Explore further: Skin patch could help heal, prevent diabetic ulcers, study finds

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Brown algae reveal antioxidant production secrets

Sep 05, 2013

Brown algae contain phlorotannins, aromatic (phenolic) compounds that are unique in the plant kingdom. As natural antioxidants, phlorotannins are of great interest for the treament and prevention of cancer ...

Small molecules for neural stem cells

Apr 23, 2012

European scientists used chemical genetics to discover molecules that could serve as future regenerative medicines to treat neurological and neurodegenerative diseases.

Toxic aldehydes detected in reheated oil

Feb 22, 2012

Researchers from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU, Spain) have been the first to discover the presence of certain aldehydes in food, which are believed to be related to some neurodegenerative ...

Breakthrough points to new drugs from nature

Apr 16, 2014

Researchers at Griffith University's Eskitis Institute have developed a new technique for discovering natural compounds which could form the basis of novel therapeutic drugs.

Recommended for you

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Mayday
not rated yet Nov 07, 2008
Sounds to me like they should put it in the water, like floride.

If these claims hold water(npi), then doesn't withholding this stuff or charging some ghastly high price for it challenge one's sense of morality?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.