Clioquinol - gastrointestinal drug could become anti-aging treatment
Dalhousie Medical School researchers have discovered that embryonic stem cells may play a critical role in helping people with nerve damage and motor neuron diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), regain muscular strength. Motor neurons reside in the spinal cord and control limb movements by enabling muscles to contract. Diseases like ALS cause them
Full Post: Researchers use embryonic stem cells from mice to grow motor neurons
Recent animal studies have shown that clioquinol - an 80-year old drug once used to treat diarrhea and other gastrointestinal disorders - can reverse the progression of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.
Scientists, however, had a variety of theories to attempt to explain how a single compound could have such similar effects on three unrelated neurodegenerative disorders.
Researchers at McGill University have discovered a dramatic possible new answer: According to Dr. Siegfried Hekimi and colleagues at McGill’s Department of Biology, clioquinol acts directly on a protein called CLK-1, often informally called “clock-1,” and might slow down the aging process. The advance online edition of their study was published in Oct. 2008 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry .
“Clioquinol is a very powerful inhibitor of clock-1,” explained Hekimi, McGill’s Strathcona Chair of Zoology and Robert Archibald & Catherine Louise Campbell Chair in Developmental Biology. “Because clock-1 affects longevity in invertebrates and mice, and because we’re talking about three age-dependent neurodegenerative diseases, we hypothesize that clioquinol affects them by slowing down the rate of aging.”
Once commonly prescribed in Europe and Asia for gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and shigella, clioquinol was withdrawn from the market after being blamed for a devastating outbreak of subacute myelo-optic neuropathy (SMON) in Japan in the 1960s. However, because no rigorous scientific study was conducted at the time, and because clioquinol was used safely by millions before and after the Japanese outbreak, some researchers think its connection to SMON has yet to be proven.
The exact mechanism of how clioquinol inhibits CLK-1 is still under investigation, Hekimi said. “One possibility is that metals are involved as clioquinol is a metal chelator,” he explained. Chelation is a type of binding to metal ions and is often used to treat heavy metal poisoning.
Hekimi is optimistic but cautious when asked whether clioquinol could eventually become an anti-aging treatment.
“The drug affects a gene which when inhibited can slow down aging,” he said. “The implication is that we can change the rate of aging. This might be why clioquinol is able to work on this diversity of diseases that are all age-dependent.”
However, he admits to being concerned about how people may interpret his results.
“The danger is that you can buy a kilogram of this compound at a chemical wholesaler, but we don’t want people to start experimenting on themselves. Clioquinol can be a very toxic substance if abused, and far more research is required.”
Researchers at McGill University, the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) and the McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Centre, along with colleagues at other Canadian and Belgian institutions, have discovered DNA variations in a gene that increases susceptibility to developing Crohn’s disease. Their study was published in the January issue
Full Post: Discovery of gene that increases susceptibility to Crohn’s disease
A previously unknown mutation discovered in a common roundworm holds the promise of new treatments for obesity in humans, McGill University researchers say. Their study was published Dec. 3 in the journal Nature , and was funded by the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. In lean times, a normal Caenorhabditis
Full Post: C. elegans worms may hold key to new treatments for obesity in humans
Imagine being forced to say no to a child crying for more food at supper. Sadly, Margie Fischer doesn’t have to imagine it; that was normal life at her family’s dinner table for years. Her daughter Maggie, now 20, suffers from phenylketonuria (PKU), a genetic disease that means her body can’t tolerate anything more than
Full Post: New drug shows promise for phenylketonuria
Canadian scientists have discovered a new risk factor for cardiovascular disease and the significance of their discovery was so conclusive that the clinical trial was stopped before its scheduled completion date. The international team of scientists have discovered that having high levels of a particular protein - high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) - puts patients at
Full Post: New risk factor for heart disease suggests more should be on statins
Research on the mechanisms involved in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, stroke, dementia, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis, to name a few, has taken a step forward thanks to the work of biological sciences Ph.D. student Sonia Do Carmo, supervised by Professor ?ic Rassart of the Université du Québec ?ontreal (UQAM) Biological Sciences Department, in collaboration
Full Post: Apolipoprotein D protects against Alzheimer’s