Researchers in Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) indicated that an FDA-approved blood pressure drug can reduce cell damage that is linked to Alzheimer's disease.
The blood pressure drug was tested in laboratory neuronal cultures and showed impressive results in preventing cell damage of brain cells, which is a reason for Alzheimer's disease. This study provides positive effect of the blood pressure drug and other Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
Hypertension leads to a reduced blood flow throughout the body and brain and this can pose a risk of Alzheimer's. Many studies have already established that the progression of Alzheimer is delayed in hypertensive patients treated with ARBs.
"We hypothesize that candesartan, or other members of the ARB group, may not only slow progression of Alzheimer's but also prevent or delay its development," says Juan M. Saavedra, M.D., GUMC's Department of Pharmacology and Physiology.
The researchers believe this work can be facilitated with practical application of candesartan or other ARBs on patients at early stages of Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's disease is associated with the excitotoxicity and apoptosis due to high glutamate levels. Researchers studied the effect of candesartan on the neurotoxic effects of exposure to a high level of glutamate. The researchers observed that candesartan effectively prevented neuronal death induced due to excessive glutamate. To confirm the inference, they conducted in-depth gene analyses of the laboratory results and concluded that candesartan prevented neuronal inflammation and many other pathological processes such as alterations in amyloid metabolism, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.
According to Gen News, Abdel G. Elkahloun, Ph.D., from the Comparative Genomics and Cancer Genetics Branch of the National Human Genome Research Institute, studied the gene expression in the neuronal cultures to compare with the gene databases of autopsy samples from patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. Elkahloun stated that the Athena expression of 471 genes that were altered by excess glutamate in the neuronal cultures were also altered in brain autopsy samples from Alzheimer's disease patients. Candesartan was found to normalize expression of these genes in the cultures.
This finding can be a hope as it can make lives better by slowing down the progression of the Alzheimer's disease.