Navigation Links
Vascular drug found to improve learning and memory in middle-aged rats

WASHINGTON A team of Arizona psychologists, geneticists and neuroscientists has reported that a safe and effective drug used to treat vascular problems in the brain has improved spatial learning and working memory in middle-aged rats. Although far from proving anything about human use of the drug, the finding supports the scientific quest for a substance that could treat progressive cognitive impairment, cushion the cognitive impact of normal aging, or even enhance learning and memory throughout the life span.

The finding appears in the February issue of Behavioral Neuroscience, which is published by the American Psychological Association. The drug in question, Fasudil, has been used for more than 10 years to treat vascular problems in the brain, often helping with recovery from stroke.

In this study, the researchers injected hydroxyfasudil, the active form of Fasudil, into middle-aged (17-18 months old) male rats daily starting four days before behavioral testing and continuing throughout testing. Injection made it easy to give the drug to rats, but people take it in pill form.

Rats were tested on the water radial-arm maze, which assessed how well they remembered which of the radiating arms had a reward, a sign of accurate spatial learning and working memory. Rats given a high dose (0.3750 mg per kg of weight) of hydroxyfasudil successfully remembered more items of information than those given a low dose (0.1875 mg per kg). Both dosed groups performed significantly better than control-group rats given saline solution. On this same test, the high-dose group showed the best learning (fewest total errors) and best working memory (measured two different ways).

For every test of learning, the scores of the low-dose group fell between the scores of the no-dose and high-dose groups, meaning that learning and memory boosts depended on the size of the dose.

The findings suggest that hydroxyfasudil may be involved in two crucial cognitive processes, learning and working memory, both involving the hippocampus. The mechanism is unclear, but hydroxyfasudil's parent drug, Fasudil, is known to protect the brain by dilating blood vessels when blood flow is curtailed. In the body, Fasudil breaks down into the more potent hydroxyfasudil molecule, which the authors hypothesize may alter memory by affecting the function of a gene called KIBRA. The authors recently demonstrated that KIBRA may play a role in memory in healthy young and late-middle-aged humans.

The authors wrote that their findings may have clinical relevance: "The collected findings and the relative safety of Fasudil support [its] potential ... as a cognitive enhancer in humans [who] have age- or neurodegenerative-related memory dysfunction."

Thus, said lead author Matthew Huentelman, PhD, "We have identified a drug that seems to benefit both the cardiovascular system, which it was originally designed to do, and the central nervous system, a new indication. We are actively exploring options for a clinical trial in the areas of cognitive impairment and dementia using the well-tolerated pro-drug Fasudil."

Co-author Heather Bimonte-Nelson, PhD, added that, "Fasudil shows great promise as a cognitive enhancer during aging. The effects in our aging animal model were robust, showing enhancements in both learning and two measures of memory. The possibility that these findings may translate to benefits to human brain health and function is very exciting."

Hydroxyfasudil inhibits the activity of Rho-kinase enzymes, which have been shown to inhibit Rac, a vital protein that supports key cellular functions. The authors speculated that blocking Rho-kinase enables Rac, in turn, to activate more of an enzyme called protein kinase C-zeta, which may in turn affect the KIBRA protein.


Contact: Public Affairs
American Psychological Association

Related medicine news :

1. Antioxidants show no clear benefit against cardiovascular events, death in high-risk women
2. Waist-to-hip ratio may better predict cardiovascular risk than body mass index
3. Pot bellies linked to early signs of cardiovascular disease
4. Air pollution linked to cardiovascular risk indices in healthy young adults
5. Environmental stress probed in cardiovascular disease, diabetes
6. Cardiovascular Technologies to be Highlighted at 5th Annual Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit, Oct. 1-3
7. American Heart Association Enhances eLearning for Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC)
8. Researchers provide genetic associations from a genome-wide scan for cardiovascular disease traits
9. GrantAdler Shipping Novel Implantable Vascular Access Port
10. Design Resource Extends Support for Orthopaedic and Cardiovascular Devices
11. LeMaitre Vascular to Start Italian Sales Force
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/26/2015)... Ashburn, VA (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 ... ... Planners, an American Express Travel Representative. As a franchise owner, Somu now offers ... range of cruise, destination wedding packages, private cruise sales, as well as, cabin ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , ... November 26, 2015 , ... Jobs in hospital ... healthcare professionals and offered by healthcare staffing agency Aureus Medical Group . ... month of October 2015 among those searching for healthcare jobs through the company’s website, ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... WorldCare International, Inc., the ... 61st annual Employee Benefits Conference. The Employee Benefits Conference was hosted by the ... Wednesday, November 11th, 2015. The conference was held at the Hawaii Convention Center ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... has collaborated with Women’s Web – an online resource for Indian women ... mental and emotional well-being relationship, life balance, stress, professional development, and lifestyle. ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Additional breast cancers found ... mammography, according to a study published online in the journal Radiology. Researchers said ... may necessitate a change in treatment. , Breast MRI is the most sensitive ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... Research and Markets ( ) ... Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in the Japanese ... Segment Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging Opportunities" report ... --> This new 247-page report ... drug monitoring market, including emerging tests, technologies, instrumentation, ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... universitetssjukhus ser potential att använda SyMRI för ... för patienter med multipel skleros (MS) ... med SyntheticMR AB för att kunna använda ... sjukhuset. Med SyMRI kan man generera flera ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 ) has ... of High Viscosity Drugs" report to their ... the addition of the "Self Administration of ... --> Research and Markets ( ... "Self Administration of High Viscosity Drugs" report ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: