Common cholesterol-lowering drug could prevent Parkinson’s progression

October 30th, 2009 - 12:15 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Oct 30 (ANI): A commonly used cholesterol-lowering drug, called simvastatin, can prevent progression of Parkinson’s disease, according to a study by neurological researchers at Rush University Medical Center.

The study examined the use of the FDA-approved medication in mice with Parkinson’s disease and found that the drug successfully reverses the biochemical, cellular and anatomical changes caused by the disease.

“Statins are one of the most widely used cholesterol-lowering drugs throughout the world. This may be a safer approach to halt the disease progression in Parkinson’s patients,” said study author Dr. Kalipada Pahan.

The researchers have shown that the activity of one protein called p21Ras is increased very early in the midbrain of mice with Parkinson’s pathology.

Simvastatin enters into the brain and blocks the activity of the p21Ras protein and other associated toxic molecules, and goes on to protect the neurons, normalize neurotransmitter levels, and improves the motor functions in the mice with Parkinson’s.

“Understanding how the disease works is important to developing effective drugs that protect the brain and stop the progression of Parkinson’s. If we are able to replicate these results in Parkinson’s patients in the clinical setting, it would be a remarkable advance in the treatment of this devastating neurodegenerative disease,” said Pahan.

The study has been published in the latest issue of the Journal of Neurosciences. (ANI)

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