Alzheimer's and other types of neurodegenerative diseases can be countered by a compound which is derived from cyanobacterium, a type of blue-green algae known as Nostoc . This has been revealed by researchers from Switzerland.
According to the study, published in the recent issue of issue of the Journal of Natural Products, it is believed to be the first time that a potent agent against Alzheimer's has been isolated from cyanobacteria, commonly known as 'pond scum.'
Cyanobacteria and other marine natural products have been increasingly found to be a promising source of drug candidates for fighting a variety of human diseases, including cancer and bacterial infections, but their chemistry has been largely unexplored, experts say.
Now, a common marine organism could lead to yet another potential health benefit. There is no cure for Alzheimer's at present, although cholinesterase inhibitors have shown promise for delaying or preventing the symptoms of mild to moderate forms of the disease, said lead researcher Karl Gademann.
The newly isolated compound, nostocarboline, was shown to be a potent inhibitor of cholinesterase - a brain chemical thought to be important for memory and thinking - whose breakdown has been associated with the disease's progression. The natural compound's potency is comparable to galanthamine, a cholinesterase inhibitor already approved for the treatment of Alzheimer's.