Navigation Links
Texas A&M biologists prove ZOLOFT packs potential to fight fungal meningitis

New research conducted by biologists at Texas A&M University suggests that ZOLOFT, one of the most widely prescribed antidepressants in the world, also packs a potential preventative bonus potent mechanisms capable of inhibiting deadly fungal infections.

The findings are the result of a two-year investigation by Xiaorong Lin, assistant professor of biology, and Matthew S. Sachs, professor of biology, involving sertraline hydrocholoride (ZOLOFT) and its effects on Cryptococcus neoformans, the major causative agent of fungal meningitis specifically, cryptococcal meningitis, which claims more than half a million lives worldwide each year, according to a 2009 Center for Disease Control (CDC) report.

Their research, funded with grants from the American Heart Association (AHA), the Norman Hackerman Advanced Research Program, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is published in the June issue of the American Society of Microbiology journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. Their research team includes Ph.D. candidate Bing Zhai and postdoctoral fellows Cheng Wu and Linqi Wang.

"The point here is that if there is a drug that already exists, is known to be well-tolerated, and has alternative uses, that's a good thing," Sachs says. "The billion dollars it would take to bring a drug to the market that's already done."

C. neoformans is a potentially dangerous fungal pathogen found in many soils throughout the world that may cause systemic infections, particularly involving the central nervous system. In most cases, the microscopic, airborne fungal cells of C. neoformans cause asymptomatic colonization in the lungs. However, Lin says the fungus is particularly aggressive in people with weakened immune systems and can spread to other parts of the body, such as the brain and spinal cord, resulting in cryptococcal meningitis a condition that, in absence of treatment, is fatal.

Lin participated in a previous study to screen a collection of FDA-approved drugs in a John Hopkins Clinical Compound Library to determine if any contained fungicidal agents. Although sertraline was shown to only moderately inhibit the effects of common fungal strains like Aspergillus nidulans, a genus of common mold often found on spoiled food, and Candida, a genus of yeast often associated with mammals, sertraline was found to be particularly effective against C. neoformans.

A follow-up investigation of sertraline in a mouse model of systemic cryptococcosis revealed that it combats infection similar to fluconazole, an antifungal drug used commonly since the early 1990s. Moreover, a drug combination of sertraline and fluconazole was found to work more efficiently than either drug alone.

Lin says that even though the infection ultimately proved fatal in the mice study, sertraline as a cryptoccol treatment still holds promise. Because sertraline reduced the overall fungal burden within the mice and also possesses the desirable ability to cross the blood-brain barrier as an antidepressant, there is still hope it can be altered to serve as a viable treatment option.

"The problem for many current antifungal drugs is that many cannot go to the brain, and it's very difficult for a lot of compounds to reach the brain in the first place," Lin says. "So, you run into the problem of not killing all the fungus or having a very low level of fungus still exist. The fact is, this antidepressant can cross the blood-brain barrier and can get into the tissue at high concentrations."

It remains unclear exactly what dosage and concentration of sertraline is necessary to completely eliminate cryptococcosis, especially cryptococcal meningitis, but Lin and Sachs hope those answers will come to light with further testing.

"If this becomes useful, it could represent a truly significant increase in our ability to help people with brain cryptococcal infections," Sachs adds.

Contact: Shana Hutchins
Texas A&M University

Related medicine news :

1. University of Texas Medical Branch to study hospital readmission
2. Ordinary chickens may be extraordinary in fighting cancer, says Texas A&M researcher
3. Texas Back Institute Becomes Official Spine Specialist for FC Dallas and the Frisco RoughRiders
4. Inhaled Steroids Lead to Big Drop in Asthma Deaths at Texas Hospital: Study
5. New research seeks to improve survival for myeloma and lymphoma patients
6. New angioplasty procedure improves blood flow in blocked arteries to extremities
7. Strobe eyewear training improves visual memory
8. Meta-analysis: Interventions improve depression in cancer patients
9. HPV improves survival for African-Americans with throat cancer
10. Herbal remedy used to treat hepatitis C proves ineffective, Penn study finds
11. New targeting technology improves outcomes for patients with atrial fibrillation
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... While it’s ... poses a problem. Fortunately, an inventor from Austin, Texas, has identified a solution. , ... medication in darkness or restricted lighting. As such, it eliminates the need to turn ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 2017 , ... PurhealthRX , a leading Health and Nutrition Company, is ... to full spectrum CBD oil will revolutionize the rapidly growing CBD market by reducing ... easily incorporated into liquid products, while reducing costs to end users. , The team ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Apple Rehab Shelton Lakes , which ... evacuation of the facility as part of a disaster drill on October 3rd. , ... and Shelton City Emergency Manager, as well as the Connecticut Long Term Care ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Ellevate Network, the leading network ... advocate for action towards gender equality at their inaugural Summit in New York City ... and reached a social audience of over 3 million. To watch the Mobilize Women ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Talented host, actor ... on sciatica in a new episode of "Success Files," which is an award-winning ... innovation and investigates each subject in-depth with passion and integrity. , Sciatica occurs ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... IRVING, Texas , Oct. 11, 2017  Caris ... science focused on fulfilling the promise of precision medicine, ... Institute has joined Caris, Precision Oncology Alliance™ (POA) as ... leading cancer centers, the St. Jude Crosson Cancer Institute ... to advance the use of tumor profiling, making cancer ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , Oct. 10, 2017   West Pharmaceutical ... innovative solutions for injectable drug administration, today shared the ... ID Adapter for improving the intradermal administration of polio ... Skin Vaccination Summit in May 2017 by Dr. ... Polio Department, World Health Organization (WHO), and recently published ...
(Date:10/4/2017)... WESTWOOD, Mass. , Oct. 4, 2017  According to the Centers ... by the end of October . PhysicianOne Urgent Care is helping communities ... Westchester, NY , by offering no-cost* flu shots through ... , as mandated by certain health insurance regulations. ... The best time to get a flu shot is by ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: