Immunocal® and Preservation of Glutathione as a Novel Neuroprotective Strategy for Degenerative Disorders of the Nervous System

University of Denver, Department of Biological Sciences, 2199 S. University Blvd., Denver, CO, 80208. .
Recent patents on CNS drug discovery 06/2012; 7(3):230-5. DOI: 10.2174/157488912803252014
Source: PubMed


Oxidative stress and glutathione (GSH) depletion are both recognized as significant contributors to the pathogenesis of many devastating neurodegenerative diseases. In particular, mitochondrial dysfunction leads to the aberrant production and accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are capable of oxidizing key cellular proteins, lipids, and DNA, ultimately triggering cell death. In addition to other roles that it plays in the cell, GSH functions as a critical scavenger of these ROS. Therefore, GSH depletion exacerbates cell damage due to free radical generation. Strategies that increase or preserve the levels of intracellular GSH have been shown to act in a neuroprotective manner, suggesting that augmentation of the available GSH pool may be a promising therapeutic target for neurodegeneration. This review discusses the capacity of a cystine-rich, whey protein supplement (Immunocal®) to enhance the de novo synthesis of GSH in neurons, and highlights its potential as a novel therapeutic approach to mitigate the oxidative damage that underlies the pathogenesis of various neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, this review discusses various patents from 1993 to 2012 both with Immunocal® and other methods that modulate GSH in neurodegeneration.

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  • 08/2012; 7(3):183. DOI:10.2174/157488912803252069
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    ABSTRACT: Glutathione (GSH) is a major endogenous antioxidant. Several studies have implicated GSH redox imbalance in brain disorders. Here, we summarize current evidence on how GSH depletion and GSH-related enzyme deficit are involved in the pathology of brain disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease. Many studies with animal models of various brain disorders and/or with clinical samples from humans with neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders have demonstrated altered levels of GSH and oxidized GSH (GSSG), decreased ratio of GSH/GSSG, and/or impaired expressions or activities of GSH-related enzymes in the blood or brain of these individuals. GSH depletion can lead to abnormalities in methylation metabolism and mitochondrial function. A few studies showed that a GSH deficit occurs prior to neuropathological abnormalities in these diseases. The potential therapeutic agents for brain disorders include N-acetylcysteine, liposomes encapsulated with GSH, and whey protein supplement, which can increase the GSH levels in the brain and alleviate oxidative stress-associated damage and may improve the behavior of individuals with brain diseases. GSH plays an important role during the onset and progression of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. GSH redox imbalance may be a primary cause of these brain disorders and may be used as a biomarker for diagnosis of these diseases. N-acetylcysteine and other agents that can increase the concentration of GSH in the brain are promising approaches for the treatment of these brain disorders.
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