[Pharmacology of Alzheimer's disease: where do we go from here?].
ABSTRACT Ten years after the introduction of the first drug for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, tacrine, it seems appropriate to reappraise the pharmacological processes of innovation in the field of research in dementia. The aim of this review is to pinpoint concrete improvements achieved in this field, in terms of experimental methods and clinical evaluation of the compounds, as well as the neurochemistry of the disease and cellular targets deserving of initial consideration. * The article first considers the use of animal models of Alzheimer's disease, which are classified according to two categories: animals with lesions of some neuronal pathways specifically implicated in clinical symptoms (i.e. lesions of the nucleus basalis of Meynert, the origin of cholinergic projections to the cortex underlying memory processes); and transgenic models, which are intended to reproduce some of the neuropathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease. Drugs can be tested in animals with such alterations for their effect on neuropathology, neurochemistry and behavioural disturbances. More recently, in silico models have been developed, which offer the possibility of simulating the pharmacodynamic effects of drugs in specific areas of the brain. These experiments are helpful in distinguishing purely symptomatic effects from disease-modifying effects, the latter being the ultimate goal of the modern pharmacology of dementia. * The second breakthrough considered in this article is the codification and standardisation of clinical methods for obtaining a more accurate and earlier diagnosis (the recent introduction of the concept of "Mild Cognitive Impairment", which includes patients who will later develop a true clinical dementia syndrome). In that respect, the determination of the biological markers of Alzheimer's disease (apolipoprotein E, amyloid substance, protein-tau, isoprostane) as well as progress in neuroimaging (functional positron emission tomography [fPET]-scan, single photon emission-computed tomography [SPECT], functional nuclear magnetic resonance [fNMR]) are discussed in terms of their potential as new tools in the early stages of drug development (surrogate markers). The methods used during the comparative clinical trials (phase III) have been elaborated and internationally standardised during the assessment of the different acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChE-I), with the knowledge that, since 1994, four of these have been officially approved: tacrine, donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine; the same methods have been used for developing memantine, a recently-launched modulator of glutamatergic neurotransmission. The validated scales now take into consideration not only the cognitive dimensions of Alzheimer's disease but also the behavioural symptoms, with the introduction of the concept of BPSD (behavioural psychological symptoms of dementia). Some proposals to improve this clinical assessment of anti-dementia drugs are presented here. * The section of this article dealing with prospective issues considers the main pathways of interest in drug innovation and the elucidation of new targets for the future compounds. As well as their symptomatic effects on the different components of cognition, drugs should be neuroprotective and limit the lesions documented in Alzheimer's disease, with the aim of progressing far beyond the amyloid hypothesis (immunisation, beta-sheet breakers, secretase inhibitors). The field of excitotoxicity (which is mainly glutamate dependent) appears fruitful, because of the possibility of pharmacological intervention at the different steps in the excitotoxic process. All the new directions presented in this article support the concept of true disease-modifying agents. In conclusion, this prospective review should be considered as a guide in fostering drug innovation in Alzheimer's disease and related disorders and should help to decrease the gap existing between neuroscience and therapeutics.
- SourceAvailable from: Tsutomu Arakawa[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: A great deal of attention has been paid to so-called amyloid diseases, in which the proteins responsible for the cell death and resultant diseases undergo conformational changes and aggregate in vivo, although whether aggregate formation is the cause or the result of the cell death is controversial. Recently, an increasing attention is given to protein folding diseases tightly associated with mutations. These mutations result in temperature-dependent misfolding and hence inactivation of the proteins, leading to loss of function, at physiological temperature; at low so-called permissive temperatures, the mutant proteins correctly fold and acquire functional structure. Alternatively, activation can be induced by use of osmolytes, which restores the folding of the mutant proteins and hence are called chemical chaperones. The osmolytes are compatible with macromolecular function and do stabilize the native protein structure. However, chemical chaperones require high concentrations for effective folding of mutant proteins and hence are too toxic in in-vivo applications. This limitation can be overcome by pharmacological chaperones, whose functions are similar to the chemical chaperones, but occur at much lower concentrations, i.e., physiologically acceptable concentrations. Although the research and clinical importance of pharmacological chaperones has been emphasized, the initial and central concept of osmolytes is largely ignored. Here we attempt to bridge the concept of osmolytes to applications of pharmacological chaperones.Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 12/2006; 1764(11):1677-87. DOI:10.1016/j.bbapap.2006.08.012 · 4.66 Impact Factor
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: It is well established that cholinergic over-stimulation can interfere with memory processes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of tacrine, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, on recognition memory as well as the associated hepatotoxicity in juvenile (20-day-old) and adult (100-day-old) ICR male mice. Recognition memory was assessed by open-field test and step-through task without footshocks for three sessions between 08:00 and 13:00, with a 24-hr retention interval. Tacrine (10 or 40 μmol/kg) or vehicle was administered (s.c.) 20 min. prior to the first session. During the acquisition session, tacrine suppressed the open-field behaviours, including locomotor activity, rearing, grooming and defecation (by 77-100%) in mice of both ages. During the recall (observable in both ages) and re-recall (observable in juvenile mice) session, the locomotor activity and rearing number were significantly increased, indicative of impairment in recognition memory, in mice treated with tacrine 40 μmol/kg. During the training trial, tacrine decreased the step-through number in mice of both ages. In contrast, during the retention and re-retention trials, the step-through number was increased (by 92% and 93%, respectively), indicative of impairment in step-through memory, in juvenile but not adult mice treated with tacrine 40 μmol/kg. Tacrine 40 μmol/kg elevated the serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity (by 135%) in juvenile mice, but reduced the ALT activity (by 42%) in adult mice. The results indicated that 20-day-old mice seemed to be more sensitive than 100-day-old mice to tacrine-induced impairment in recognition memory and the associated liver damage.Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology 06/2011; 108(6):421-7. DOI:10.1111/j.1742-7843.2011.00677.x · 2.29 Impact Factor