March 2, 2024

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New Findings Suggest GLP-1 Weight Loss Drug Could Treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases

New Findings Suggest GLP-1 Weight Loss Drug Could Treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases



New Findings Suggest GLP-1 Weight Loss Drug Could Treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases

Scientists have uncovered a surprising potential “superpower” of GLP-1 weight loss drugs, indicating their effectiveness in combating both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

The researchers found that GLP-1 receptor agonists can also suppress brain inflammation, adding another remarkable dimension to these novel obesity medications.

Inflammation is prevalent in patients with chronic metabolic diseases and is a characteristic feature of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Co-author of the study, Professor Daniel Drucker from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine, remarked, “What’s really intriguing about GLP-1 drugs is that, in addition to controlling blood sugar and weight, they seem to reduce complications of chronic metabolic diseases. From clinical studies, we know that GLP-1 can exert these miraculous effects in the human body, but we are not entirely clear on how it works.”

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists have become one of the most notable medical breakthroughs after mRNA vaccines. Brands such as Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro, which include semaglutide and tirzepatide, were initially developed for the effective treatment of type 2 diabetes but gained fame later as highly praised weight loss medications.

Drucker and his team believe that the newfound capability is not the limit of their “superpower,” expressing a keen interest in the relationship between inflammation and GLP-1 drugs. Researchers have discovered a new and captivating interaction that could potentially change lives, especially in relation to other organs and, notably, the brain.

Drucker stated, “It’s odd that there aren’t many GLP-1 receptors found in the other organs where GLP-1 seems to be effective.”

The research team found that GLP-1 agonists could alleviate conditions in mice with inflammation (caused by the immune system’s response to bacterial cell wall components or bacterial plasma). However, this effect occurred only when receptors in the brain were not blocked. This demonstrates a new way in which GLP-1 drugs interact with inflammation and the brain-immune system axis, distinct from their other known benefits.

Anne-Claude Gingras, Director of the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, commented, “While the scientific community rightfully celebrates GLP-1 agonists and their impact, there are still many unknowns. This research deepens our understanding of the complex brain-immune network that regulates metabolism.”

In Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, pathological proteins beta-amyloid and alpha-synuclein interact with certain receptors, triggering various inflammatory pathways. Modulating the activity of these proteins and receptors with GLP-1 receptor agonists could effectively treat neuroinflammation in these degenerative diseases.

The research team now aims to identify which brain cells interact with GLP-1 and how they interact with inflammation models in the heart, liver, and kidneys, offering significant hope for treating related chronic diseases in these organs.

The study has been published in the journal “Cell Metabolism.”

New Findings Suggest GLP-1 Weight Loss Drug Could Treat Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases

New Findings Suggest GLP-1 Weight Loss Drug Could Treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases

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