To view an abstract, select an author from the vertical list on the left.
2017 Grants - Joly-Amado
Effects of Psychotropic Medications in a Mouse Model of Tauopathy
Aurelie Joly-Amado, Ph.D.
University of South Florida
2017 Alzheimer’s Association Research Fellowship (AARF)
Can FDA-approved psychiatric medications reduce behavioral symptoms and brain changes observed in Alzheimer’s disease?
People with Alzheimer’s disease often develop behavioral symptoms long before symptoms of cognitive decline. These poorly understood symptoms can include weight loss, disturbances in food intake, pacing, or increases in impulsive behavior. Non-cognitive symptoms significantly affect quality of life for people living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Medications that reduce non-cognitive symptoms could help delay institutionalization, and may directly improve day-to-day life for people with Alzheimer’s.
Mice genetically modified to have tau protein tangles in their brain, or tauopathy, also experience weight loss and hyperactivity. More research is needed to understand the relationship between these symptoms. It is not clear if medications that improve non-cognitive symptoms may also reduce abnormal tau or other brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s.
Aurelie Joly-Amado, Ph.D. and colleagues have proposed to study how four different classes of FDA-approved medications may influence Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. To perform this study, Dr. Joly-Amado’s team will expose healthy and Alzheimer’s-like mice to psychotropic drugs including Keppra, Ritalin, Valium, and Seroquel—all of which have different mechanisms of action. The team will measure whether the drugs affect activity levels, metabolism, or food intake in Alzheimer’s-like mice, and whether the effects are reversible.
The drug that shows the most promise in reducing non-cognitive symptoms will also be used to treat young Alzheimer’s-like mice before any symptoms develop. The researchers will measure both cognitive and non-cognitive Alzheimer’s symptoms in these treated mice over time. The team will also study whether drugs that reduce non-cognitive symptoms can also reduce tau protein tangles in the brain. The series of experiments will help Dr. Joly-Amado determine if FDA-approved psychiatric medications can influence non-cognitive symptoms, or even tau tangles, in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s.
If successful, this study could help researchers understand mechanisms behind non-cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s. This study may also help identify classes of FDA-approved medications that could help reduce, delay or prevent non-cognitive symptoms for people living with Alzheimer’s disease.