Saturday, June 12, 2010

Carbamazepine Reduces Hepatic Fibrosis.....

We know that Carbamazepine (CBZ see structure), is an  anticonvulsant and mood stabilizing drug used primarily in the treatment of epilepsy and bipolar disorder, as well as trigeminal neuralgia. It is also used off-label for a variety of indications, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia, phantom limb syndrome, paroxysmal extreme pain disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Now researchers from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, have come up with interesting finding about this drug, i.e., the liver scarring of Ī±1-antitrypsin (AT) deficiency, the most common genetic cause for which children undergo liver transplantation, might be reversed or prevented with carbamazepine.  The disease, which affects 1 in 3,000 live births, a gene mutation leads to an abnormal protein, dubbed ATZ, that unlike its normal counterpart is prone to aggregation. As per the claim by the researchers these aggregates of ATZ accumulate in the liver cells and eventually lead to scarring, or fibrosis, of the organ and set the stage for tumor development. The disease sometimes doesn't show itself until adulthood, when the liver starts to fail due to cirrhosis or cancer.

Encouraged by the fact that carbamazepine could enhance a natural cellular pathway called autophagy  or self-digestion, researchers thought that  it might be able to rid the cells of the toxic aggregated ATZ. For the study researchers treated an ATZ cell line with carbamazepine. They found that carbamazepine did indeed cause a marked decrease in ATZ because the abnormal proteins were degraded more quickly via autophagy, and so they did another experiment in a mouse model of AT deficiency.

The most amazing finding,  as per the claim by the researchers is  that the drug reversed the fibrosis in the livers of the mice and after two weeks of treatment the liver tissue resembled that of a healthy mouse...

The ability of carbamazepine and drugs like it to "soup up" the cell's autophagy machinery might have value in other disorders ― such as Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease and Parkinsonism ― that are thought to be caused by toxic effects of protein clumping in the brain. Dr. Perlmutter and his colleagues are now exploring these possibilities in preclinical studies. ....

Ref : http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/science.1190354v1

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