Published study reports molecule could improve memory, reduce Alzheimer's degradation

May 10, 2018

A Purdue University graduate and a Purdue Research Park of Northwest Indiana (NWI) startup have published a research study in Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters that identifies a small molecule SERCA activator that may improve memory and cognition.

In the Alzheimer's disease models, the SERCA activator shows promise in reducing the cellular stress and preventing cell loss in neurons. The molecule corrects cells' calcium ion balance and represents a new therapeutic strategy for neurodegeneration drug development.

"We have identified a compound that could therapeutically slow or halt Alzheimer's disease, while also demonstrating its ability to cross the blood brain barrier, provide good bioavailability and cause no identifiable off target effects," said Katie Krajnak, co-author and graduate of Purdue University Northwest's Department of Biological Sciences.

Krajnak and Russell Dahl, chief executive officer of Neurodon, LLC, co-published the study "A New Target for Alzheimer's disease: A Small Molecule SERCA Activator is Neuroprotective in vitro and Improves Memory and Cognition in APP/PS1 Mice" in Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters. Read the study here.

"We are interested in neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases," Dahl said. "Brain cell loss occurs when the cells' calcium balance is disrupted. We focus on correcting intracellular calcium handling by developing molecules that target calcium handling proteins, such as SERCA."

In the study, Dahl and Krajnak explored how a SERCA activator affects neurodegeneration. The team focused on two subjects, memory/cognition and brain cell mass, which are standard in pre-clinical Alzheimer's studies.

Dahl and Krajnak found that their molecule preserved brain cell mass and boosted memory in the treated subjects. The study details an array of tests, including the water maze test for memory, and illustrates the SERCA activator molecule's capacity for neuroprotection.

"Our focus is creating molecules that reach their target and act as a protector against cellular injury," Dahl said. "Currently, there are no drugs approved that actually slow down or halt neurodegeneration. Our ultimate product would accomplish this feat and bring the medicine to clinics."

In a previous study, the SERCA activator also produced a 60 percent reduction in Alzheimer's brain plaques, an aftereffect of treatment. The current study further validates these results by proving that the molecule also treats prevalent Alzheimer's symptoms.

"We could finally have a therapy modifying Alzheimer's disease," Krajnak said. "This molecule has the ability to rescue cells from apoptosis, or cell death. Preventing cell death can also prevent further brain atrophy and memory loss accompanying the disease."

Neurodon is a startup, located in the Purdue Research Park of NWI, working toward discovering neuroprotective drugs. Dahl and his team research treatments to different cell death illnesses, such as Alzheimer's diseases and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Next, Neurodon moves forward to preclinical testing and, eventually, to develop an oral pill treating neurodegeneration.
-end-


Purdue University

Related Memory Articles from Brightsurf:

Memory of the Venus flytrap
In a study to be published in Nature Plants, a graduate student Mr.

Memory protein
When UC Santa Barbara materials scientist Omar Saleh and graduate student Ian Morgan sought to understand the mechanical behaviors of disordered proteins in the lab, they expected that after being stretched, one particular model protein would snap back instantaneously, like a rubber band.

Previously claimed memory boosting font 'Sans Forgetica' does not actually boost memory
It was previously claimed that the font Sans Forgetica could enhance people's memory for information, however researchers from the University of Warwick and the University of Waikato, New Zealand, have found after carrying out numerous experiments that the font does not enhance memory.

Memory boost with just one look
HRL Laboratories, LLC, researchers have published results showing that targeted transcranial electrical stimulation during slow-wave sleep can improve metamemories of specific episodes by 20% after only one viewing of the episode, compared to controls.

VR is not suited to visual memory?!
Toyohashi university of technology researcher and a research team at Tokyo Denki University have found that virtual reality (VR) may interfere with visual memory.

The genetic signature of memory
Despite their importance in memory, the human cortex and subcortex display a distinct collection of 'gene signatures.' The work recently published in eNeuro increases our understanding of how the brain creates memories and identifies potential genes for further investigation.

How long does memory last? For shape memory alloys, the longer the better
Scientists captured live action details of the phase transitions of shape memory alloys, giving them a better idea how to improve their properties for applications.

A NEAT discovery about memory
UAB researchers say over expression of NEAT1, an noncoding RNA, appears to diminish the ability of older brains to form memories.

Molecular memory can be used to increase the memory capacity of hard disks
Researchers at the University of Jyväskylä have taken part in an international British-Finnish-Chinese collaboration where the first molecule capable of remembering the direction of a magnetic above liquid nitrogen temperatures has been prepared and characterized.

Memory transferred between snails
Memories can be transferred between organisms by extracting ribonucleic acid (RNA) from a trained animal and injecting it into an untrained animal, as demonstrated in a study of sea snails published in eNeuro.

Read More: Memory News and Memory Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.