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Researchers Use Compound to Stop Cognitive Impairment in Rats

Update Date: Nov 13, 2013 10:34 AM EST
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Alzheimer's disease, which is the most common form of dementia, currently has no cure. People with the disease experience mental decline as they age and medications help to a certain extent. In order to improve patients' lives, researchers have been trying to find ways of preventing Alzheimer's from manifesting or at least, delay the symptoms for as long as possible. In a new study, researchers used a compound that appeared to be effective in inhibiting cognitive impairment in rat models with Alzheimer's.

For this study, Anil Gulati, MD, Ph.D., FCP and Seema Briyal, Ph.D. worked with colleagues from Midwestern University. Together, the team administered amyloid beta, which is the main component of the amyloid plaques that are usually found in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients, to normal and diabetic rats. By giving the rats amyloid beta, the rats developed Alzheimer's that could be comparable to human cases. The two groups of rats received amyloid beta on day one, seven and 14. The team placed them in a Morris water maze to test their spatial learning and memory. The maze was divided into four equal sections with one escape route placed below the platform of one of the quadrants.

The rats were given 60 seconds to escape. On day four, the researchers found that some of the rats that were given amyloid beta escaped in 55.05 seconds. However, the majority of the amyloid beta rats were not capable of escaping on time. The team then tested the amyloid beta rats that were treated with a compound called IRL-1620. The team found that these rats were able to locate the escape route within 26.53 seconds. By day five, the team noted a 60 percent improvement in learning and memory.

"Our research is based on the idea of using the Endothelin (ET) system in the treatment of AD [Alzheimer's disease]," said Gulati. "The ET system is traditionally known to play a role in the regulation of blood flow. This is important in the potential treatment of AD since disturbances in blood flow could damage the brain's ability to clear damaging particles, leading to a build-up of toxic substances and cognitive impairment."

The study's findings were presented at the 2013 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) annual meeting and exposition at San Antonio, TX. The meeting takes place between November 10 and November 14 and is the world's largest pharmaceutical sciences meeting.

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