A Migraine Drug Fights Neurodegeneration

  • Author: Melania Tesio
  • Published: 03 November 2012
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: Nature Medicine/Nature Publishing Group
thumbnail image: A Migraine Drug Fights Neurodegeneration

The androgen receptor determines and maintains male features. However, when mutated, it causes the death of spinal cord and brainstem’s motor neurons, promoting a neurodegenerative disease known as spinal and bulbar muscolar atrophy (SBMA). Traditional therapeutic strategies based on androgen withdrawal have shown limited efficacy. Thus, alternatives are needed.

According to Makoto Minamiyama, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan, and colleagues naratriptan, a serotonin receptor agonist widely used to treat migraine, is effective against the disease. The scientists discovered that this compound targets calcitonin-gene related peptide A, a molecule which mediates androgen receptor’s neurotoxic effects. As a consequence, naratriptan ameliorated the neurodegenerative symptoms in a mouse model of SBMA.

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