A new way to treat Alzheimer’s Disease has been discovered: a nasal spray that utilizes drug repositioning to boost a person’s cognitive functions. An article by the researchers at Osaka City University describes the technicalities of the new invention. “Via drug repositioning, Osaka City University creates a combination of rifampicin and resveratrol and have shown in mouse models that the nasal administration improves cognitive function without the negative liver side effects of rifampicin alone.”
Scientists believe that Dementia occurs when two proteins, amyloid-β, tau and α-synuclein, accumulate in the brain and form what are known as oligomers, a low weight chain polymer. The researchers from Osaka City University previously proved that an antibiotic protein named rifampicin was able to remove these oligomers from the brain and boost cognitive function. However, rifampicin has been known to cause side effects, such as liver damage. “To combat the negative side effects of the existing drug rifampicin, we thought of combining it with the hepatoprotective effects of resveratrol,” illustrates Professor Takami Tomiyama, who acted as lead investigator for the current study. Resveratrol is a naturally occurring chemical in plants, and is used as a supplement in Europe and the United States.
During this experiment, the research team exposed mice models with forms of dementia, to both rifampicin and resveratrol. “The results showed that the combination significantly improved the cognitive function of the mice, inhibited the accumulation of oligomers, and restored synaptophysin levels – presynaptic proteins that facilitate synapses. Additionally, blood levels of liver enzymes, a marker of hepatic damage that normally increases with rifampicin, remained normal in the fixed-dose combination. Furthermore, increased levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression were observed in the hippocampus, which was not seen with rifampicin alone. These results indicate that this fixed-dose combination is superior to rifampicin alone in terms of both safety and efficacy,” states the article.
With these results, our next hope is to test this discovery on real people, and to find a viable solution to Alzheimer’s disease, along with all of the other types of dementia. The article goes on to state that “By investigating new therapeutic purposes with existing drugs in a process called drug repositioning, the research team hopes to diagnose and prevent dementia before the neurons start dying.”