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Study suggests antibiotic may prevent dreaded brain fever
Date:2/19/2008

Two researchers from National Brain Research Center (NBRC) suggest that a common antibiotic called minocycline may prevent children from death due to Japanese encephalitis (JE), or commonly known as brain fever. Japanese Encephalitis virus is the causative agent for JE. Although there is no consolidated official figure for JE cases in India, a rough estimate would indicate a few thousands fatalities every year. The team found that minocycline, an USFDA approved drug, often used to treat acne, limits the death by reducing the microglial activation, neuronal death as well as viral replication. Microglia are cells that act as the "cleanup crew" for the Central Nervous System (CNS). They destroy damaged cells by releasing toxins and engulfing them. Should they become activated and release their toxins in the CNS, the toxins will kill the healthy neurons critical for normal function of brain.

Our studies in mice suggest that this antibiotic may be a strong candidate for further consideration as a therapeutic drug in patients with JE said Anirban Basu, PhD, Staff Scientist and senior author of this work from NBRC, Manesar, Haryana. The study titled Minocycline neuroprotects, reduces microglial activation, inhibits caspase-3 induction, and viral replication following Japanese Encephalitis will be published in the future issue of Journal of Neurochemistry (www.blackwell-synergy.com/loi/jnc), a journal of the International Society for Neurochemistry. Previous studies from the same group have shown that following JE there was an increased production of cytokines, proteins that cause inflammation of the brain as well as death of neurons. This study goes a step further to show that minocycline is helpful in reducing the level of cytokines and neuronal death following JE. The major finding in this study is that treatment with minocycline provides a complete protection against experimental JE. Minocyclines neuroprotective action is associated with marked decrease in
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Contact: Melanie Thomson
melanie.thomson@oxon.blackwellpublishing.com
01-865-476-270
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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