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Newly discovered peptide shows promising results in preventing seizures; a potential future treatment for epilepsy and Alzheimer’s

Published on 18/08/22 at 10:36am

A study published in The American Society for Clinical Investigation highlights developments made by researchers to develop A1R-CT, a peptide which disrupts the signaling between neurabin (a molecule) and the adenosine 1 receptor (A1R). This peptide can be administered through a nasal spray to try and prevent seizures related to epilepsy and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).


Epileptic seizures are common after brain injury, and with chronic neurological conditions such as AD — up to 64% of AD sufferers have seizures. In about 40% of people who experience seizures, current medications and techniques don’t work in controlling them, showing the need for new therapies.


It has been established that A1R, when activated by adenosine, has neuroprotective effects that causes an anti-convulsant response. However, this is often blocked by neurabin. Researchers aimed to remove neurabin to “unleash A1R’s power” said Dr Qin Wang, Neuropharmacologist and founding director of the program for Alzheimer's therapeutics discovery at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.


Wang also explained that “the A1 receptor itself has to be regulated because if it's activated too much, you will fall asleep,” meaning a tricky balance must be formed in order for A1R-CT to work.


Clinical trials were done on mice. These mice had either normal neurabin levels or a natural deficiency, where mice with the deficiency had shorter and less severe seizures than those with normal level. Researchers blocked the A1R receptor in the neurabin-deficient mice, which caused them to experience more severe seizures, and an increased death rate of 50%.


From this, researchers concluded that A1R-CT disrupts the neurabin-A1R interaction, allowing A1R to act as an anti-convulsant.


When testing A1R-CT, researchers found a huge decrease in neuron death in the Alzheimer’s model, as well as improvement in the severity, duration, and death rate of the seizures. They are now working towards improving and safety-proofing the peptide so that it could potentially be used in treating human patients in the future.

James Spargo

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