Felodipine, a prescribed drug to treat high blood pressure, has shown promise against Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and forms of dementia in studies carried out in mice and zebrafish at the University of Cambridge.
In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, scientists have shown in mice that felodipine may be a candidate for re-purposing.
A common feature of neurodegenerative diseases is the build-up of misfolded proteins.
These proteins, such as huntingtin in Huntington’s disease and tau in some dementias, form “aggregates” that can cause irreversible damage to nerve cells in the brain.
A team led by Professor David Rubinsztein used mice that had been genetically modified to express mutations that cause Huntington’s disease or a form of Parkinson’s disease, and zebrafish that model a form of dementia.
Felodipine was effective at reducing the build-up of “aggregates” in mice with the Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease mutations and in the zebrafish dementia model.