Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Stroke Drug Alleviates Alzheimer’s

Scientists from the University of South Australia have discovered that Edaravone – a drug that is only available in some Asian countries for the treatment of ischaemic stroke – can alleviate the progressive cognitive deficits of Alzheimer’s disease.

“Edaravone can bind the toxic amyloid peptide, which is a major factor leading to degeneration of nerve cells,” says Prof Xin-Fu Zhou of the University of South Australia, who led the research. “It is a free radical scavenger which suppresses oxidative stress that is a main cause of brain degeneration,” he says.

“The drug can suppress the production of amyloid beta by inhibiting the amyloid beta production enzyme. It also inhibits the Tau hyperphosphorylation, which can generate tangles accumulated in the brain cells and disrupt brain functions.”

While Zhou’s team observed that Edaravone alleviated Alzheimer’s disease pathologies and improved functions of learning and memory in a mouse model of the disease, he stresses that Edaravone should not be used for Alzheimer’s patients before appropriate clinical trials are undertaken.

The discovery has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.