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New compound improves cognitive decline, symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in rodents
Date:1/12/2010

ve not found a treatment selective enough to activate the receptors without producing side effects such as nausea, vomiting and increased frequency of urination.

But in this study, Nicolle said, researchers found that BQCA boosted the weak signals of the M1 receptors in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

"In Alzheimer's disease, the chemical signals the little bits of information that are talking to each other in the brain are reduced, so you can't do the tasks very well," Nicolle said. "BQCA is only boosting an existing signal, so it's really specific in its action."

BQCA also seemed to inhibit production of amyloid beta, one of the markers of Alzheimer's disease in the brain perhaps key to the compound's potential for slowing the progression of the disease.

Moreover, the compound works quickly, Nicolle explained. After just one administration of BQCA one hour before behavioral testing, mice were able to learn new ways to do tasks in this case, finding a piece of hidden peanut butter chip in one of two small flower pots that looked the same but smelled different. One of the pots was made to smell like lemon, indicating the location of a food reward, namely the peanut butter chip. The other pot smelled like clove, a smell that if followed, would lead the mouse to a pot with no food reward. All mice learned to locate the peanut butter chip in the pot that smelled like lemon.

However, when the odor stimuli were switched, making clove the indicator of the peanut butter and lemon the indicator of no reward, the BQCA-treated "Alzheimer's mice" were able to forget the old rule and quickly learn the new rule to locate the chip in the clove-scented pot. The untreated Alzheimer's mice had difficulty learning the new rule and persisted in looking for the chip in the lemon-scented pot a characteristic of impaired cognitive function known as "perseveration."

Tasks that require the replacement of old rules with new
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Contact: Jessica Guenzel
jguenzel@wfubmc.edu
336-716-3487
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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