Monday, November 16, 2009

Memantine for Huntington's disease ?

Memantine is the first in a novel class of Alzheimer's disease medications acting on the glutamatergic system by blocking NMDA glutamate receptors. Memantine is marketed under the brands Axura and Akatinol by Merz, Namenda by Forest, Ebixa and Abixa by Lundbeck and Memox by Unipharm.

Now researchers from Burnham & University of California have found that, Memantine, which is approved to treat Alzheimer's disease, successfully treated Huntington's disease in a mouse model by preserving normal synaptic electrical activity and suppressing excessive extrasynaptic electrical activity.

Huntington's disease is a hereditary condition caused by a mutated huntingtin gene that creates a misfolded, and therefore dysfunctional, protein. The new research shows that normal synaptic receptor activity makes nerve cells more resistant to the mutant proteins. However, excessive extrasynaptic activity contributed to increased nerve cell death. The research team found that low doses of Memantine reduce extrasynaptic activity without impairing protective synaptic activity.

This finding is of great importance because of the fact that chronic neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington's, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are all related to protein misfolding and the researchers have shown for the first time that that electrical activity controls protein folding, and if one has a drug that can adjust the electrical activity to the correct levels, one can protect against misfolding and also the research verifies that appropriate electrical activity is protective. They also found that normal synaptic activity was protective. Subsequently, they treated Huntington's disease model mice with both high and low doses of Memantine and found that the low doses were protective by blocking pathological extrasynaptic activity, while high-dose Memantine encouraged disease progression because it also blocked the protective synaptic NMDA receptor activity. Its really good achievement congratulations. After having small clinical trials, larger, international clinical trials are now being planned....

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