An experimental drug called ISRIB has been shown to reverse age-related mental decline in mice studies.
The drug was able to prevent loss of hearing in some circumstances, restore memory after traumatic brain injury (TBI), fight prostate cancer, and even improve cognition in healthy animals.
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The Secret to Reversing Age-Related Mental Decline Is ISRIB Drug
Integrated stress response (ISR) is when your body reacts to specific internal or external stresses on a cellular level.
In a new study published on December 1st, 2020, in eLife journal, researchers found that ISRIB, an ISR inhibitor, has extreme rapid restoration effects in aged mice.
Brain and immune cells were also rejuvenated, leading researchers to see positive results in brain function.
Susana Rosi, Ph.D., said: “ISRIB’s extremely rapid effects show for the first time that a significant component of age-related cognitive losses may be caused by a kind of reversible physiological “blockage” rather than more permanent degradation.”
Rebooting Cellular Protein Production
Peter Walter, Ph.D., at the University of California, has studied cellular stress responses for decades and discovered ISRIB in 2013. If a cell gets stressed, ISRIB kickstarts the protein production needed for recovery.
The ISR usually detects protein development issues in a cell, a likely indicator of viral infection or gene defects that promote cancer. It then responds by stopping the process of the cell’s protein synthesis.
Walter and his colleagues found that this safety mechanism is crucial for getting rid of misbehaving cells. However, if, for example, the cells get “stuck in the on position” in brain tissue, it may lead to severe complications as the cells are unable to conduct their usual function.
In recent mice studies, Rosi and Walter implicated that the recurrent cognitive and behavioral deficits seen in patients with TBI can improve brain activity when treated with ISRIB therapy.
Age-related mental decline in TBI patients is similar to premature aging, which makes researchers wonder if the ISR is the sole reason for decline or whether there are some other reasons for it.
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New Studies Show Improved Cognition
The new research led by Karen Krukowski, Ph.D., trained aged animals to find their way out of a maze full of water by finding a hidden platform. This is a task that is usually challenging for older animals to learn. But the ones who received a small amount of ISRIB daily during the three-day training could finish the task just as well as young mice and a lot better than animals of the same age who did not have the drug.
To test the drug’s duration to rejuvenate the age-related mental decline, they trained the same mice to find their way out of a maze with the exit changed daily several weeks after the initial test. The animals with ISRIB treatment three weeks prior still performed excellently while the others struggled.
As a result, researchers found that ISRIB helps the old mice’s neurons work more efficiently, forming a more stable connection, typically seen in young mice. Leading to the path in which the drug could be enhancing cognition in aged mice and could have the possibility to treat diabetes and Alzheimer’s, which is caused by an aging immune system.
A wide array of neurological conditions could potentially be treated with an ISR-resetting agent like ISRIB, including:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Age-related Cognitive Decline
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Down Syndrome
- Frontotemporal Dementia
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Prion Disease
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Vanishing White Matter Disorder
The future is exciting. Usually, brain damage is permanent, so seeing brain damage erased overnight in mice is remarkable. Repetitive brain injuries like athletes suffer because multiple concussions are being looked into. Since being licensed, ISRIB is being studied by many more pharmaceutical companies meaning more labs can join forces to make further amazing breakthroughs.
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