Scientists from Salk Institute have found that the experimental anti-Alzheimer´s drug J147 has unexpected anti-aging properties in animals. Mice treated with J147 had better memory and healthier brain blood vessels, among other physiological improvements. The study has been published in the journal Aging.
Alzheimer´s is a neurodegenerative disease that accounts for almost 70% of dementia cases. It usually starts with short-term memory loss and, as it advances, new symptoms appear like mood swings, disorientation, and language, self-care and behavior problems. Finally, bodily functions are lost. After diagnosis, life expectancy is between 3 and 9 years. The hallmark of the disease are amyloid plaques deposited on the neurons, and the vast majority of drug experiments in the last 20 years target these deposits. However, none of them has been clinically effective. That is why Dr. Schubert decided to change the target. Instead of focusing on amyloid plaques, Schubert centered his efforts in old age associated cell characteristics. Based of cell screenings that informed about the common toxines found in old neurons, the Salk team synthesized the J147. The drug was tested in a mouse model with the most common inherited form of Alzheimer, and it succeeded in improving memory and other physiological aspects. But inherited Alzheimer´s account only for 1% of the total cases, the rest being associated with old age, so the researchers tried J147 in another mouse model that ages quickly and develops dementia.
J147 promotes younger metabolism and physiology
The quickly aging mice were divided in three groups: old, young and old but fed J147 during their life. Gene expression was measured in neurons, as well as the levels of 500 metabolites in the brain and the bloodstream. Mice fed J147 had fewer signs of Alzheimer, their blood vessel damage was diminished, and their metabolism was found more similar to the young group than to the old one. All these signs where reflected also on a younger external appearance.
This promising drug could be benefitial in two related fronts, aging and Alzheimer´s. The next step will be to conduct clinical trials of J147 for humans.