Scientists from the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) designed a multi-objective compound that works on three pharmacological targets of Alzheimer's disease, said Martha Cecilia Rosales Hernández, head of research conducted at the School of Medicine (ESM).
He explained that the substance was evaluated in cell lines and animal models and found to have very similar effects with a substance called galantamine, which is currently used to treat this condition in mild and moderate stages.
The expert pointed out that Alzheimer's disease is a difficult diagnosis, because it is often confused with senile dementia and although there are no exact figures about the disease in Mexico, it is estimated that between six and nine percent of the population aged 60 years or older.
He added that the multi-objective connection improves memory because it is able to inhibit the acetylcholinesterase enzyme, increases acetylcholine within the synapses and increases neurotransmission.
Rosales Hernández said the developed product tries to prevent the aggregation of the beta-amyloid peptide in the same way, which produces the growth of senile plaques and some pro-inflammatory molecules that produce reactive oxygen species.
To understand the Beta-amyloid peptide behavior, IPN researchers design computationally molecules that interact with it, making it possible to have specific structures aimed at avoiding the aggregation of the peptide.
The working of the molecules is evaluated with computational tools and the three or five are chosen with better activity, a process that saves time and money in research.
Rosales added that until now there is no medication targeting multiple targets and that pharmacokinetic tests, toxicity studies and lethal doses in animals are still required before they proceed to the clinical phase.
He explained that Alzheimer's is a multiple neurodegenerative process of the central nervous system, clinically characterized by the increasing loss of short-term memory and attention, followed by the involvement of other cognitive skills such as language, abstract thinking, critical judgment and the recognition of places or people.
Meanwhile, neuritic plaques or senile plaques (highly toxic to neurons) are aggravated beta-amyloid protein deposits that extracellularly form in the intraneuronal spaces of the gray brain mass, primarily in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, which are involved in memory and emotional control.