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AEterna Zentaris: New Data Published on its Ghrelin Antagonist Compound, AEZS-123 (JMV2959), Supports its Use in Alcohol Addiction
Date:7/7/2009

    Data published in July 7, 2009 Issue of Proceedings of the National
    Academy of Sciences

QUEBEC CITY, July 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - AEterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ: AEZS; TSX: AEZ), a global biopharmaceutical company focused on endocrine therapy and oncology, today announced publication in the renowned American scientific journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), of new data supporting the use of AEterna Zentaris' ghrelin receptor antagonist compound, AEZS-123 (JMV2959), for the treatment of alcohol dependence that involves ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone produced by the stomach and acting in the brain. Compelling evidence obtained with the administration of AEZS-123, and a ghrelin receptor mouse knockout model, highlights the role of ghrelin to regulate the rewarding value of alcohol in a mouse model of alcohol dependence. When ghrelin's actions are blocked, alcohol's effects on the reward system are reduced.

The data show that mice treated with ghrelin increase their alcohol consumption. When ghrelin's actions are blocked by administering ghrelin receptor antagonists such as AEZS-123, mice no longer show preference for an alcohol-associated environment - in other words, alcohol is no longer able to produce its addictive effects that include reward searching behaviour (akin to craving in alcoholic patients).

The work, coordinated by AEterna Zentaris, emerged from an international collaboration between the research groups of Prof. Suzanne Dickson and Prof. Jörgen Engel who performed the pharmacology work at the Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg, Sweden, and the research group of Prof. Jean Martinez who synthesized the tested compound AEZS-123 at the Institut des biomolecules Max Mousseron, Montpellier, France.

Suzanne Dickson, Professor of Physiology and a leading expert in appetite regulat
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SOURCE AETERNA ZENTARIS INC.
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