Maraviroc, an HIV drug, may have an unexpected effect: in addition to reversing cognitive deficits caused by the AIDS virus, it may help restore memory loss in midlife. This is suggested by a study conducted in elderly mice, published last Wednesday (25) in the scientific journal Nature.
Maraviroc acts on the CCR5 protein, a receptor on the surface of white blood cells. When HIV binds to such a protein, it can enter the cell and replicate, causing memory loss in people with AIDS. However, if the drug arrives first, the entry of the virus is blocked.
In 2019, researchers working with mice found that the drug could also help neurons make new connections after a stroke. In the new study, scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles, US, used a small microscope to probe the brains of rodents, uncovering a key drug mechanism for linking memories.
Increased expression of the gene encoding the CCR5 receptor in rodent brains has been observed to affect memory. Maraviroc genetically suppresses this receptor, so the drug may work against cognitive impairment.
passage of time
As a person ages, the amount of CCR5 increases in the brain, reducing the chances of memory recovery. Due to the presence of the receiver, the rodents forgot a connection they had between two cages during the experiment. When scientists removed the gene coding for this protein, the mice made memory connections that they normally couldn’t.
“When we gave maraviroc to older mice, the drug doubled the genetic suppression effect of CCR5 from their DNA,” said Alcino Silva, one of the lead authors of the discovery, in a statement. “Older animals were able to link their memories again.”
It is possible that the drug can serve not only to strengthen human memory in the midlife, but that it can become a type of prevention of dementia. “Our next step will be to organize a clinical trial to test the influence of maraviroc on early memory loss for the purpose of early intervention,” says Silva.
Source: Galileo Magazine