Researchers using mouse models of Alzheimer disease were able to demonstrate that the investigational drug candidates ‘CMS121’ and ‘J147’ will not only improve symptoms of memory impairment by slowing the deterioration of brain cells but can also reverse aging.
“This study further validated these two compounds not only as Alzheimer’s drug candidates but also as potentially more widely useful for their anti-aging effects,” says Pamela Maher, a senior staff scientist at Salk Research Institute and a co-corresponding author of the new paper. “The bottom line was that these two compounds prevent molecular changes that are associated with aging.”
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Findings were published in the journal eLife and indicates how these drug candidates, which are actually variants of plant compounds with medicinal properties, can inhibit the damage to brain cells that are normally seen during aging and restoring the necessary protein seen in younger brains. The drugs are capable of keeping neurons alive when exposed to forms of cellular stress as a result of aging or from implications of Alzheimer.
“The contribution of old age-associated detrimental processes to the disease has been largely neglected in Alzheimer’s disease drug discovery,” says Antonio Currais, a Salk staff scientist and first author of the new paper.
Results suggest that these drugs hold potential in reversing broader aging and links to a new pathway involved in longevity between aging and the Alzheimer brain. The pathway is likely involved with the cellular organelle and power house of the cell known as the mitochondria.
“There was already some data from human studies that the function of mitochondria is negatively impacted in aging and that it’s worse in the context of Alzheimer’s,” says Maher. “This helps solidify that link.”
“We are now using a variety of animal models to investigate how this neuroprotective pathway regulates specific molecular aspects of mitochondrial biology, and their effects on aging and Alzheimer’s,” says Currais.