Preclinical study of dimebon on β-amyloid-mediated neuropathology in Alzheimer's disease

Jun Wang, Mario G. Ferruzzi, Merina Varghese, Xianjuan Qian, Alice Cheng, Mathew Xie, Wei Zhao, Lap Ho, Giulio M. Pasinetti

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33 Scopus citations


Background: Dimebon is a retired non-selective antihistamine drug currently being investigated as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Results from several completed clinical trials are mixed and contradictory. Proper interpretations of these clinical observations, as well as future development of dimebon in AD treatment are complicated by the lack of concrete information on the mechanisms by which dimebon might benefit AD. Results: The present studies are designed specifically to assess whether dimebon might modulate β-amyloid (Aβ)-mediated responses which are central to the development and progression of AD dementia. We found that dimebon is bioavailable in the brains of mice following oral administration. AD mice chronically treated with dimebon exhibited a trend of improvement in spatial memory function without affecting the levels of total Aβ as well as soluble oligomeric A in the brain. The same trend of behavior improvement is also seen in wild type animals chronically treated with dimebon. Conclusion: Collectively, our preclinical studies using the TgCRND8 AD mouse model demonstrated that dimebon might have some beneficial effect in improving cognitive function independent of Alzheimer's disease-type Aβ-related mechanisms or global energy metabolism in the brain. Observations from our study and others suggesting dimebon might improve cognition in wild type mice and rats raises the possibility that dimebon might be able to benefit cognitive function in patients with other neurodegenerative disorders, such as Huntington's disease, or in the aging population. Additional studies will be necessary to clarify the mechanisms by which dimebon might directly or indirectly benefit cognitive function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
JournalMolecular Neurodegeneration
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011


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