Antimalaria drugs could be an effective treatment for Parkinson’s disease
Source: R. Bick, B. Poindexter, UT Medical School / Science Photo Library
Current treatments for Parkinson’s disease (PD) primarily address symptoms and do not slow down the progression of the disease, which involves the death of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain. A promising treatment target is the nuclear orphan receptor Nurr1 because it plays a role in both the development and protection of dopaminergic neurons.
By using high-throughput screening of more than 1,500 licensed drugs and natural compounds, researchers have now identified three drugs — the antimalarials amodiaquine and chloroquine, and the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory glafenine — that activate Nurr1.
When administered to a rat model of PD, amodiaquine and chloroquine led to a significant improvement in behavioural deficits, without dyskinesia-like side effects. “Our study shows that Nurr1 could serve as a valid drug target for neuroprotective therapeutics of PD,” the researchers write in PNAS (online, 29 June 2015).
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20069062
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