Candesartan potential therapeutic for Alzheimer’s disease

Written by Alice Weatherston

New research from Georgetown University (DC, USA), published recently in Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy, has highlighted the potential efficacy of candesartan and some other FDA-approved angiotensin receptor blockers for the early treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Utilizing neuronal cultures, researchers led by senior author Juan Saavedra (Georgetown University) investigated the action of candesartan, currently approved for the treatment of high blood pressure, on the neurotoxic effects of exposure to excessive glutamate – a known injury factor in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Specifically, candesartan was shown to avert glutamate-induced neuronal death and genetic analyses indicated that the drug also prevented neuronal inflammation and a variety of other pathological processes associated Alzheimer’s disease, including amyloid metabolism.

The study’s first author, Abdel G. Elkahloun, from the National Human Genome Research Institute (MD, USA) then explored gene expression within the neuronal cultures by comparing this with published gene databases of autopsy samples from Alzheimer’s patients. Elkahloun commented: “The correlations were impressive — the expression of 471 genes that were altered by excess glutamate in our cultures were also altered in brain autopsy samples from patients who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.” He added: “Candesartan normalized expression of these genes in our cultures.”

Despite the potential efficacy of candesartan in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease being previously unknown , Saavedra stressed that the findings were actually logical: “Our findings make sense in many ways. Hypertension reduces blood flow throughout the body and brain and is a risk factor of Alzheimer’s disease. Previous epidemiological studies found that Alzheimer’s progression is delayed in hypertensive patients treated with angiotensin receptor blockers.”

The team believe that the research has immediate translational value, with candesartan and other angiotensin receptor blockers, providing a potential novel method for slowing the progression of, delaying or preventing Alzheimer’s disease and are now calling for controlled clinical studies in patients with early Alzheimer’s diagnoses.

Source: Georgetown University press release