A drug in early animal trials has shown promising results, appearing to reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in mice.
Additionally, in mice, the treatment reduced inflammation in parts of the brain that are associated with memory and learning, according to a study led by Susan Farr of Saint Louis University School of Medicine, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The mice were engineered to produce a mutant form of human beta amyloid, one of the proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease. In a previous study, the researchers had tested mice that naturally overproduced mouse beta amyloid; this step was to see if the drug would work with the human version. Both types of mice showed impaired learning as they aged, much like humans with Alzheimer’s disease.
Two groups of mice were tested: the mutants, and wild-type mice. The wild-type mice were given random compounds, along with half of the mutants. The other half of the mutants received the experimental drug, called antisense oligonucleotide or OL-1. They were then tested in mazes, to see how well they learned and remembered while exploring a new location, and in recognizing objects. The genetically engineered mice that received OL-1 did about as well as the wild mice.
“It reversed learning and memory deficits and brain inflammation in mice that are genetically engineered to model Alzheimer’s disease,” Farr said in a statement released by the school. “Our current findings suggest that the compound is a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.”