A schizophrenia drug could help treat dementia, study says

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Protein deposits in the brain are common in many neurodegenerative diseases.

These harmful proteins, like tau, cause nerve cells to die and parts of the brain to shrink.

This can lead to dementia, a condition that causes people to gradually lose their memory and other important mental functions.

Diseases such as Alzheimer’s and frontotemporal dementia are closely related to these protein deposits.

The role of serotonin and 5-HT7R

professor dr Evgeni Ponimaskin from the MHH Institute of Neurophysiology and his team have found a crucial link in this process. They found that a specific serotonin receptor called 5-HT7R plays a major role.

What is serotonin? It’s a messenger substance, something like a postman in your body.

It manages many important tasks like helping your blood to clot, learning, and controlling your sleep. It’s also called the “happiness hormone” because it helps control our mood.

The 5-HT7R receptor is special because it is always active. It helps bring about a chemical change in the tau proteins that leads to their accumulation in the cells.

However, it turns out that the overactivity of the receptor can be stopped with the help of so-called inverse agonists.

Antipsychotic shows promise

Now it’s getting exciting. The team found that an antipsychotic, amisulpride, can block the 5-HT7R receptor. By blocking this receptor, the drug prevents the formation of the harmful tau protein.

Amisulpride is not new. It is already used to treat schizophrenia, a mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. But now it could also be used to treat dementia.

This drug has been tested in cell models and in animal models of dementia and the results have been promising. The researchers published these findings in a journal called Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

From the laboratory to the clinic

Although the class of inverse agonists has been patented for the treatment of dementia, it has so far only been used in the laboratory and not in real patients.

Therefore, the scientists examined drugs that had already been approved and could potentially affect the serotonin receptor as a side effect.

Amisulpride was notable for being a potent 5-HT7R receptor agonist. Although it can’t repair dead nerve cells, it could potentially slow down or even prevent dementia if caught early enough.

They even found that amisulpride had a therapeutic effect on human stem cells with disease-related mutations.

Upcoming clinical trials

What is exciting is that the next step is to start a phase II clinical trial. This is a type of study where people are given a drug to see how well it works and if it is safe.

Professor Ponimaskin, in collaboration with other scientists and institutions, is preparing for this experiment and aims to launch it by the end of this year.

They want to test the effect of amisulpride on patients with dementia. If successful, this could bring us one step closer to effectively treating dementia.

If you care about dementia, please read studies about it Vitamin B9 deficiency is associated with a higher risk of dementiaAnd Foods rich in flavonoids may help prevent dementia.

For more information on brain health, see recent studies Cranberries may help boost memoryAnd These antioxidants could help reduce the risk of dementia.

The study was published In Alzheimer’s and dementia.

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