WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) Dec 11 - The investigational drug GT 715 may restore lost brain function, results of an animal study suggest. The drug increases brain activity of guanylyl cyclase (sGC).
GT 715 acts on the same cell-signaling pathway as nitroglycerin, principal investigator Dr. James N. Reynolds, of Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, told Reuters Health. But the drug's action is targeted more to the brain than to the cardiovascular system, he said.
When GT 715 was administered to healthy rats before they entered a water maze, it did not affect their navigational abilities, even when given at very high doses, Dr. Reynolds and colleagues say in the November issue of NeuroReport. But when GT 715 was given to the animals after they had received another drug that reduced their mental abilities, the rats' performance improved, and higher doses of the drug led to greater improvement.
This study provides the first evidence that activating sGC may improve mental performance, the authors note. "The results of this study therefore suggest that stimulation of cerebral sGC activity may be an effective strategy to improve learning and memory performance in individuals in whom cognitive abilities are impaired by injury, disease or aging."
The researchers' goal, according to Dr. Reynolds, is to develop a drug that not only relieves symptoms of neurological diseases but also prevents further impairment. Depending on funding for the research, a safety study of GT 715 might begin within the next year or so, he said.
2000 Reuters Ltd.