An early study of the drug rolipram in mice shows promise for possible use in treating Alzheimer's disease in people say researchers according to a new study.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia in the elderly with typical symptoms being memory loss, speech deterioration, and behavioral changes. The main factor in the cause of AD is the accumulation of beta-amyloid, which is toxic to the brain.
Researchers say they have found that treatment of a mouse form of AD with rolipram improves memory in long-term potential and contextual learning -- two measurements of brain function. Rolipram works by modifying gene expression, making brain synapses more resistant to the damage caused by accumulating beta amyloid.
Results have shown that rolipram's protective benefit lasted for two months after the drug course was stopped. The benefits of the treatment also were not limited to the early stages of AD, with behavioral changes occurring in older mice as well as younger mice.
In conclusion researchers say their study suggests that drugs, such as rolipram, that inhibit phosphodiesterase do have the potential to prevent the memory loss characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.