Folic Acid Potentiates the Effect of Memantine on Spatial Learning and Neuronal Protection in an Alzheimer's Disease Transgenic Model

Department of Neurology, National Taiwan University Hospital, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.
Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD (Impact Factor: 4.15). 02/2010; 20(2):607-15. DOI: 10.3233/JAD-2010-1396
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Folic acid deficiency and hyperhomocysteinemia potentiate amyloid-beta (Abeta) neuron toxicity. Memantine, an NMDA antagonist used in moderate to severe AD, is considered to be neuroprotective. We propose that folic acid might have a synergistic effect for memantine in protecting neurons from Abeta accumulation. We treated 8-month-old Tg2576 transgenic mice with memantine (30 mg/kg/day) with or without folic acid (8 mg/kg/day) for 4 months. Escape latencies in the Morris water maze were significantly shorter in the folic acid-memantine treatment group Tg(+)_M+F compared to both the non-treatment transgenic controls Tg(+) and the memantine-treatment group Tg(+)_M (both p < 0.05). Analysis of Abeta40 and Abeta42 showed lower brain loads in both treatment groups but this did not reach statistical significance. Histopathology analysis showed that Tg(+)_M+F had lower ratios of neuronal damage than Tg(+) (p < 0.001) and Tg(+)_M (p< 0.005). DNA analysis revealed that in the Tg(+)M_+F group, transcription was upregulated in 72 brain genes involved in neurogenesis, neural differentiation, memory, and neurotransmission compared to the Tg(+)_M group. In conclusion, we found that folic acid may potentiate the effect of memantine on spatial learning and neuronal protection. The benefit of combination therapy may be through co-action on the methylation-controlled Abeta production, and modification of brain gene expression.

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