The neurodegenerative dementia is a condition in which memory and other intellectual abilities are impaired. It’s an important clinical symptom for many diseases that include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, and Lewy body dementia. Unfortunately, it is mostly irreversible and primarily manifests in elderly people. According to current World Health Organization (WHO) data, there are 55 million people in the world suffering from some form of dementia. It’s expected that by 2030 that number will raise to 78 million, and by 2050 to 139 million.
What is dementia and how is it treated?
Dementia generally caused by accumulation of specific proteins in or between neurons. The type of that protein determines the different types of dementia. For example, in Alzheimer’s disease, the proteins that accumulate are the Aβ peptide and the hyperphosphorylated microtubule-binding tau protein (P-Tau), and in Lexy body dementia, the protein is α-synuclein.
Despite pharmaceutical companies’ various attempts in finding adequate treatment, currently there are no effective drugs on the market for this condition. Why is that so? The problem mostly occurs in clinical trials because potential drugs fail in performing functions for which they’re manufactured.
But what if the solution is hiding right under our noses?
News from Osaka
Researchers from the Osaka University have conducted new preclinical trials based on past research in effect of antibiotic rifampicin on dementia. Rifampicin, when used in therapy of patients without dementia to prevent mycobacterial infections, showed potential in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Problem arises in the fact that rifampicin, when in peroral use, can cause serious side effects, like liver dysfunction. Researchers came up with substituting peroral application with internasal application. That way the drug is effectively transported to the brain with reduced transportation to the liver. Other than that, internasal application is minimally invasive and simple, if we take into account other parenteral drug administration techniques.
Considering that preventive therapy of neurodivergent dementia is long-lasting, it’s important that drugs used for this purpose are very safe. To increase the safety of internasal rifampicin, the researchers from Osaka tried to combine this drug with resveratrol. Resveratrol is a drug with many uses, it’s an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory drug, antidiabetic, anticarcinogen and has a hepatoprotective effect. Because of its protective effect on the liver, the combination of these two drugs is a great alternative to monotherapy with rifampicin.
This research was conducted on 4 types of mice, of which every type was divided into 3 groups. One group took rifampicin intranasally for a month, the other resveratrol, and the third one the combination of these two drugs. The results showed that the combination of drugs improved their memory significantly, which was tested by finding a way out of the so-called Morrissey labyrinth. Also, the levels of Aβ peptides in the cerebral cortex were significantly lower than in monotherapy with rifampicin. These results indicate synergistic effect of these two drugs in dementia therapy.
Considering that dementia is a condition that has a growing number of affected individuals, it is essential to find new ways to treat it. Other than the fact that this form of therapy has promising results, the fact that the application is fast and simple is also favorable. The drug still has to go through clinical trials to confirm that we have a novelty in dementia therapy.
Translated by: Ena Penić
Tomohiro T et all. Oligomer-Targeting Prevention of Neurodegenerative Dementia by Intranasal Rifampicin and Resveratrol Combination – A Preclinical Study in Model Mice. Frontiers in Neuroscience. 2021. 15. 1726.
Stopping dementia at the nose with combination of rifampicin and resveratrol, https://www.sciencedaily.com, visited on 31.12.2021.
Raz L et al. The neuropathology and cerebrovascular mechanisms of dementia. Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism : official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism. 2016. 36:1. 172-18.