Antibiotic may slow or prevent Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, study says

By Tauren Dyson   |   Nov. 28, 2018 at 2:37 PM
In the United States, 5.7 million people have Alzheimer's disease and more than 10 million people have Parkinson's disease. Photo courtesy of Max Pixel

Nov. 28 (UPI) -- A new antibiotic could bring hope to people suffering from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

After testing the effects of the antibiotic minocycline on older roundworms that had a build-up of α-synuclein and amyloid-β, two proteins associated with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, researchers saw a decrease in the number of aggregation of the two proteins, according to a new study published Tuesday in eLife.

"It would be great if there were a way to enhance proteostasis and extend lifespan and health, by treating older people at the first sign of neurodegenerative symptoms or disease markers such as protein build-up," Gregory Solis, a graduate student at Scripps Research and lead author of the study, said in a press release. "In this study, we investigated whether minocycline can reduce protein aggregation and extend lifespan in animals that already have impaired proteostasis."

Scientists discovered that minocycline pushes back the ribosome, the protein-producing component of the brain, that exists in the worms and humans. The testing revealed that the amount of minocycline needed to get rid of protein in the worms depended on how much protein the worm produced. The lower the level of production, the lower the dose needed.

In the United States, 5.7 million people have Alzheimer's disease and more than 10 million people have Parkinson's disease.

"Our study reveals how minocycline prevents protein aggregation and lays the foundations for drug-development efforts aimed at optimizing this already-approved drug for a range of neurodegenerative diseases," said Michael Petrascheck, an associate professor at Scripps Research.

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