Navigation Links
Duke team finds compounds that prevent nerve damage

DURHAM, N.C. Duke University Medical Center scientists have made a significant finding that could lead to better drugs for several degenerative diseases including Huntington's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Compounds that block the activity of a specific enzyme prevented brain injury and greatly improved survival in fruit flies that had the same disease process found in Huntington's disease.

"We were able to prevent Huntington's disease-like illness in mutant fruit flies by giving them orally active transglutaminase inhibitors," said Charles S. Greenberg, M.D., a Professor of Medicine and Pathology at Duke University Medical Center and senior author of the paper. The drug blocks the action of an enzyme called tissue transglutaminase (TGM2). TGM2 may damage cells by forming strong bonds between proteins. Such bonding is beneficial for blood clotting which happens outside of cells, but if this type of bonding occurs inside cells, it can be harmful, Greenberg said.

The study appears in the current issue of Chemistry and Biology.

Huntington's disease causes uncontrolled movement and mental deterioration that develops later in life, and though there is no cure, people can get tested to learn whether they have the gene that causes the devastating illness, Greenberg said.

Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and polyglutamine diseases including Huntington's disease may possibly be improved with the same compounds, said Thung S. Lai, Ph.D., lead author and a Duke Associate Professor of Medicine. "Our findings may also help to develop drugs that block the pathology related to transglutaminase's action. That action has been linked to the development of tissue fibrosis, organ failure and aging."

While these compounds were promising in the animal system, they are several years away from entering any human trials, Greenberg said. "We will be studying these compounds in diseases in which TGM2 produces tissue injury."

For the study, Lai painstakingly screened 2,000 compounds. Only two groups of drugs were found to be effective TGM2 inhibitors. Some of the most potent TGM2 inhibitors were given to the fruit flies along with their food.

The most effective compound was a kinase inhibitor, a drug that had been developed several years ago for another purpose. The other beneficial compounds fell into a category of drugs that attack a sulfhydryl group in a protein.

The next step is to use the effective compounds as the backbone for developing even more effective drugs, Lai said. The scientists plan to test whether the TGM2 inhibitors they identified would prevent the fibrous tissue process that causes chronic renal, vascular and lung disease.


Contact: Mary Jane Gore
Duke University Medical Center

Related biology news :

1. Study finds ATV guidelines inadequate
2. International TGen-led team finds link between brain protein and Alzheimers disease
3. Rhode Island Hospital study finds link between obesity, type 2 diabetes and neurodegeneration
4. Killer carbs -- Monash scientist finds the key to overeating as we age
5. Rice lab finds molecular clues to Wilson disease
6. Study finds connections between genetics, brain activity and preference
7. Humans response to risk can be unnecessarily dangerous, finds Tel Aviv University study
8. UT Knoxville professor finds unexpected key to flowering plants diversity
9. Antimicrobial sutures reduce infections in brain shunt surgery, study finds
10. Plasma DNA level is a reliable marker of recurrent esophageal cancer, study finds
11. Gene panel predicts lung cancer survival, study finds
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)...  Connected health pioneer, Joseph C. Kvedar , ... health and wellness, and the business opportunities that arise ... Internet of Healthy Things . Long before health ... Dr. Kvedar, vice president, Connected Health, Partners HealthCare, was ... care from the hospital or doctor,s office into the ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015 Today, ... announced a partnership with 2XU, a global leader ... deliver a smart hat with advanced bio-sensing technology. ... other athletes to monitor key biometrics to improve ... strategic partnership, the two companies will bring together the ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... , October 27, 2015 ... Automated Semantic Gaze Mapping technology (ASGM) automatically maps data ... Eye Tracking Glasses , so that they can ... --> Munich, Germany , October ... automatically maps data from mobile eye tracking videos created ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 The Global ... a professional and in-depth study on the current ... (Logo: ) , The ... including definitions, classifications, applications and industry chain structure. ... international markets including development trends, competitive landscape analysis, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: ... speaking at the following conference, and invited investors to ... NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 ... NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 ... Conference, New York, NY      Tuesday, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Tampa, Florida (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 ... ... its biggest event of the year and one of the premier annual events ... USA, and ran from 8–11 November 2015, where ISPE hosted the largest number ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... This fall, global software solutions leader SAP and AdVenture Capital brought together dozens ... BIG ideas to improve health and wellness in their schools. , Now, the top ... of SAP's Teen Innovator, an all-expenses paid trip to Super Bowl 50, and an ...
Breaking Biology Technology: