From Medical Xpress:

Rolipram activates the brain’s garbage disposal system, eliminating excess Tau proteins (glowing red dots) associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Credit: Laboratory of Karen Duff/Columbia University Medical Center

A drug that boosts activity in the brain’s “garbage disposal” system can decrease levels of toxic proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders and improve cognition in mice, a new study by neuroscientists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) has found. The study was published today in the online edition of Nature Medicine.

“We have shown for the first time that it’s possible to use a drug to activate this disposal system in neurons and effectively slow down disease,” said study leader Karen E. Duff, PhD, professor of pathology and cell biology (in psychiatry and in the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain) at CUMC and at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. “This has the potential to open up new avenues of treatment for Alzheimer’s and many other neurodegenerative diseases.” The drug used was rolipram, which causes nausea and thus is not a good drug for use in humans, but similar drugs do not incur nausea as a side effect and could go into clinical trials very quickly,

To remain healthy, brain cells must continually clear out old, worn, or damaged proteins, a task performed by a small molecular cylinder called the proteasome. The proteasome acts as a kind of garbage disposal, grinding up the old proteins so they can be…

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