This type of antibiotics may help treat frontotemporal dementia

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Frontotemporal dementia stands out as the most prevalent type of dementia that strikes early, typically between the ages of 40 and 65.

This condition primarily affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, which are crucial for controlling behavior and language.

As a result, individuals with this dementia often experience significant changes in behavior, face challenges with speaking and writing, and suffer from memory loss.

In some cases, frontotemporal dementia is exacerbated by a genetic mutation that prevents brain cells from producing a protein known as progranulin.

Although the full role of progranulin in the brain is not completely understood, its deficiency is clearly linked to the development of the disease.

Exciting new research conducted by scientists at the University of Kentucky and other institutions has revealed that a class of antibiotics known as aminoglycosides could offer a promising treatment for those affected by this form of dementia.

The study focused on the ability of these antibiotics to help neuronal cells overcome the genetic mutation that hampers the production of progranulin.

In their laboratory experiments, the researchers discovered that when they introduced aminoglycoside antibiotics to mutated neuronal cells, these cells began to produce the full-length progranulin protein.

This process occurs as the antibiotic causes the cellular machinery to bypass the mutation during protein synthesis.

Among the antibiotics tested, Gentamicin and G418 showed particular promise in correcting the mutation and restoring functional progranulin protein levels to approximately 50 to 60%.

These findings are significant, considering the current lack of effective treatments for any type of dementia.

The ability of Gentamicin and G418 to increase progranulin production in cells suggests a potential pathway for drug development that could mitigate the effects of frontotemporal dementia.

However, there are considerations to address before these findings can lead to a practical treatment. Gentamicin, for instance, while approved by the FDA, is associated with several serious side effects, which restricts its use in clinical settings.

Therefore, one of the next steps proposed by the research team is to develop derivatives of Gentamicin and G418 that retain their therapeutic effects but are safer and more effective.

The research is still in its early stages, with the initial studies conducted in cell cultures. The next phase involves testing the effects of these antibiotics on mice genetically modified to carry the human mutation for frontotemporal dementia.

This step is crucial for determining whether the treatment can be effective in a living organism.

Ultimately, the goal is to advance these findings from the laboratory to clinical trials, offering hope that this new approach could one day lead to effective treatments for frontotemporal dementia and potentially other forms of the condition as well.

This groundbreaking study, led by Haining Zhu and his team, was detailed in the journal Human Molecular Genetics, marking an important milestone in the ongoing battle against dementia.

If you care about dementia, please read studies about low choline intake linked to higher dementia risk, and how eating nuts can affect your cognitive ability.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that blueberry supplements may prevent cognitive decline, and results showing higher magnesium intake could help benefit brain health.

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