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      Cholinergic deficiency involved in vascular dementia: possible mechanism and strategy of treatment

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          Vascular dementia (VaD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease with a high prevalence. Several studies have recently reported that VaD patients present cholinergic deficits in the brain and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that may be closely related to the pathophysiology of cognitive impairment. Moreover, cholinergic therapies have shown promising effects on cognitive improvement in VaD patients. The precise mechanisms of these cholinergic agents are currently not fully understood; however, accumulating evidence indicates that these drugs may act through the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway, in which the efferent vagus nerve signals suppress pro-inflammatory cytokine release and inhibit inflammation, although regulation of oxidative stress and energy metabolism, alleviation of apoptosis may also be involved. In this paper, we provide a brief overview of the cholinergic treatment strategy for VaD and its relevant mechanisms of anti-inflammation.

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          Most cited references 121

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          Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia in developing countries: prevalence, management, and risk factors.

          Despite mortality due to communicable diseases, poverty, and human conflicts, dementia incidence is destined to increase in the developing world in tandem with the ageing population. Current data from developing countries suggest that age-adjusted dementia prevalence estimates in 65 year olds are high (>or=5%) in certain Asian and Latin American countries, but consistently low (1-3%) in India and sub-Saharan Africa; Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60% whereas vascular dementia accounts for approximately 30% of the prevalence. Early-onset familial forms of dementia with single-gene defects occur in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Illiteracy remains a risk factor for dementia. The APOE epsilon4 allele does not influence dementia progression in sub-Saharan Africans. Vascular factors, such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes, are likely to increase the burden of dementia. Use of traditional diets and medicinal plant extracts might aid prevention and treatment. Dementia costs in developing countries are estimated to be US$73 billion yearly, but care demands social protection, which seems scarce in these regions.
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            Cholinesterase inhibitors for Alzheimer's disease.

            Since the introduction of the first cholinesterase inhibitor (ChEI) in 1997, most clinicians and probably most patients would consider the cholinergic drugs, donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine, to be the first line pharmacotherapy for mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.The drugs have slightly different pharmacological properties, but they all work by inhibiting the breakdown of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter associated with memory, by blocking the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. The most that these drugs could achieve is to modify the manifestations of Alzheimer's disease. Cochrane reviews of each ChEI for Alzheimer's disease have been completed (Birks 2005, Birks 2005b and Loy 2005). Despite the evidence from the clinical studies and the intervening clinical experience the debate on whether ChEIs are effective continues. To assess the effects of donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine in people with mild, moderate or severe dementia due to Alzheimer's disease. The Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group's Specialized Register was searched using the terms 'donepezil', 'E2020' , 'Aricept' , galanthamin* galantamin* reminyl, rivastigmine, exelon, "ENA 713" and ENA-713 on 12 June 2005. This Register contains up-to-date records of all major health care databases and many ongoing trial databases. All unconfounded, blinded, randomized trials in which treatment with a ChEI was compared with placebo or another ChEI for patients with mild, moderate or severe dementia due to Alzheimer's disease. Data were extracted by one reviewer (JSB), pooled where appropriate and possible, and the pooled treatment effects, or the risks and benefits of treatment estimated. The results of 13 randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trials demonstrate that treatment for periods of 6 months and one year, with donepezil, galantamine or rivastigmine at the recommended dose for people with mild, moderate or severe dementia due to Alzheimer's disease produced improvements in cognitive function, on average -2.7 points (95%CI -3.0 to -2.3), in the midrange of the 70 point ADAS-Cog Scale. Study clinicians blind to other measures rated global clinical state more positively in treated patients. Benefits of treatment were also seen on measures of activities of daily living and behaviour. None of these treatment effects are large. There is nothing to suggest the effects are less for patients with severe dementia or mild dementia, although there is very little evidence for other than mild to moderate dementia.More patients leave ChEI treatment groups, approximately 29 %, on account of adverse events than leave the placebo groups (18%). There is evidence of more adverse events in total in the patients treated with a ChEI than with placebo. Although many types of adverse event were reported, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, were significantly more frequent in the ChEI groups than in placebo. There are four studies, all supported by one of the pharmaceutical companies, in which two ChEIs were compared, two studies of donepezil compared with galantamine, and two of donepezil compared with rivastigmine. In three studies the patients were not blinded to treatment, only the fourth, DON vs RIV/Bullock is double blind. Two of the studies provide little evidence, they are of 12 weeks duration, which is barely long enough to complete the drug titration. There is no evidence from DON vs GAL/Wilcock of a treatment difference between donepezil and galantamine at 52 weeks for cognition, activities of daily living, the numbers who leave the trial before the end of treatment, the number who suffer any adverse event, or any specific adverse event. There is no evidence from DON vs RIV/Bullock of a difference between donepezil and rivastigmine for cognitive function, activities of daily living and behavioural disturbance at two years. Fewer patients suffer adverse events on donepezil than rivastigmine. The three cholinesterase inhibitors are efficacious for mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. It is not possible to identify those who will respond to treatment prior to treatment. There is no evidence that treatment with a ChEI is not cost effective. Despite the slight variations in the mode of action of the three cholinesterase inhibitors there is no evidence of any differences between them with respect to efficacy. There appears to be less adverse effects associated with donepezil compared with rivastigmine. It may be that galantamine and rivastigmine match donepezil in tolerability if a careful and gradual titration routine over more than three months is used. Titration with donepezil is more straightforward and the lower dose may be worth consideration.
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              Molecular targets in cerebral ischemia for developing novel therapeutics.

              Cerebral ischemia (stroke) triggers a complex series of biochemical and molecular mechanisms that impairs the neurologic functions through breakdown of cellular integrity mediated by excitotoxic glutamatergic signalling, ionic imbalance, free-radical reactions, etc. These intricate processes lead to activation of signalling mechanisms involving calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinases (CaMKs) and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) such as extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), p38, and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). The distribution of these transducers bring them in contact with appropriate molecular targets leading to altered gene expression, e.g. ERK and JNK mediated early gene induction, responsible for activation of cell survival/damaging mechanisms. Moreover, inflammatory reactions initiated at the neurovascular interface and alterations in the dynamic communication between the endothelial cells, astrocytes and neurons are thought to substantially contribute to the pathogenesis of the disease. The damaging mechanisms may proceed through rapid nonspecific cell lysis (necrosis) or by active form of cell demise (apoptosis or necroptosis), depending upon the severity and duration of the ischemic insult. A systematic understanding of these molecular mechanisms with prospect of modulating the chain of events leading to cellular survival/damage may help to generate the potential strategies for neuroprotection. This review briefly covers the current status on the molecular mechanisms of stroke pathophysiology with an endeavour to identify potential molecular targets such as targeting postsynaptic density-95 (PSD-95)/N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor interaction, certain key proteins involved in oxidative stress, CaMKs and MAPKs (ERK, p38 and JNK) signalling, inflammation (cytokines, adhesion molecules, etc.) and cell death pathways (caspases, Bcl-2 family proteins, poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1), apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF), inhibitors of apoptosis proteins (IAPs), heat shock protein 70 (HSP70), receptor interacting protein (RIP), etc., besides targeting directly the genes itself. However, selecting promising targets from various signalling cascades, for drug discovery and development is very challenging, nevertheless such novel approaches may lead to the emergence of new avenues for therapeutic intervention in cerebral ischemia.

                Author and article information

                Acta Pharmacol Sin
                Acta Pharmacol. Sin
                Acta Pharmacologica Sinica
                Nature Publishing Group
                July 2009
                03 July 2009
                : 30
                : 7
                : 879-888
                [1 ]State Key Laboratory of Drug Research, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences , Shanghai 201203, China
                Author notes
                Copyright © 2009 CPS and SIMM


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