The drug used in curing the problems related to blood pressures could be effective against some of the conditions like Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s. The scientists of Cambridge University and Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine have recently found hypertension curing drug felodipine can be used in treating some of the neurodegenerative diseases too. When felodipine was injected to zebrafish and mice it prompted a process known as autophagy in which the toxic proteins are removed from the brains and neurons.
The studies show that felodipine is inducing autophagy in the neurons and brain cells to remove the disease-causing proteins like –mutant Huntington causing Huntington’s disease, tau is the factor for Alzheimer’s, and mutant alpha-synuclein causes Parkinson’s.
The humans consume the felodipine drug to get treated from hypertension but the same drug will now likely cure these dreading diseases too. According to a molecular neurogenetics professor at Cambridge University, this is the first time when a drug has responded in slowing down the process of formation of toxic proteins. The doses consumed by humans for treating hypertension were mimicked in the mice to obtain results, and; the outcome was positive. Hence, the drug should now be tried on patients to see its effect on some of the devastating conditions.
The formation of protein in the cells is a very complex process and includes many of the components. The processes mainly involve in the production of a long chain of amino acids and get them to fold into 3D structures. The folding of the protein is the trickiest part, as a little change in the structure can result in the formation of potentially toxic substances. The accumulation of the faulty protein chains trigger for the autophagy process to take place and thus the toxic substances are broken down and its components are then recycled.
In conditions like Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s the impairment of autophagy of the faulty protein takes place thereby increasing the level of toxin in the brain. However, according to the latest studies conducted on zebrafish, flies, and mice; felodipine has found to have induced autophagy both chemically and genetically resulting in the reduction of the faulty proteins by breaking them down.
As there are no treatments that induce the autophagy process in humans to cure degenerative diseases, the scientists will have to start from scratch to obtain the desired results.