Emobileclinic Researchers Corner
The Journal of Cell Death and Disease has recently published the findings of researchers at UCL who found that a drug known as brimonidine used to treat glaucoma may have potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
In a trial study on rats, the drug brimonidine, which is routinely used to reduce eye pressure in glaucoma patients, has been found to minimize the formation of amyloid proteins in the retina, which are considered to be associated with Alzheimer dsease.
Amyloid plaques are found in the retinas of people with Alzheimer’s, so the researchers say the retina can be viewed as an extension of the brain that provides an opportunity to diagnose and track progression of Alzheimer’s.
In the trial study, the team found that brimonidine lowers neurodegeneration of cells in the retina by reducing the levels of beta amyloid in the eye. This was achieved with the use of drug to stimulate the production of an alternative non-toxic protein which does not kill nerve cells. The researchers are optimistic that the drug will have a similar effect on the brain, although this was not tested in the current study.Prof Francesca Cordeiro said “the findings of our study could not have come at a more significant and important moment, given the increased prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease. As we live longer, there will be increasing demand for therapies that can help challenge this extremely damaging disease and we believe that our findings can make a major contribution,”
Francesca M. Cordeiro (2016): Non-amyloidogenic effects of α2 adrenergic agonists: implications for brimonidine-mediated neuroprotection, Cell Death and Disease, doi:10.1038/cddis.2016.397