Scientists have successfully tested a well- known antibiotic as a neuroprotective agent for dementia in rats with accelerated aging

NSU Laboratory of Translational and Clinical Neuroscience organized together with the Research Institute of Physiology and Fundamental Medicine, both members of the NSU "Neuroscience in translational medicine" Strategic Academic Unit (SAU), observation of rats with genetically based accelerated aging. The rats were then exposed to a well-known antibiotic (ceftriaxone) and correction of cognitive impairment was observed.

Dementia in the elderly is one of the most urgent problems in modern medicine and research in this sphere is among the priorities in the WHO Mental Health Mental Health Care Program (mhGAP). The occurrence of severe cognitive dysfunctions caused by aging and neurodegenerative diseases has increased dramatically and is due to an increase in the life expectancy of the population. At the same time, questions pertaining to the etiology and pathogenesis of senile dementia remain unanswered as the search for methods to effectively address the condition are being actively conducted throughout the world.

Repositioning of known drugs (drug repositioning) is a promising and effective strategy in modern psychopharmacology. The cephalosporin antibiotic III generation ceftriaxone is a broad-spectrum drug that has been used extensively for many years exclusively as an antimicrobial agent. More recently, in 2005, a hypothesis was put forward that ceftriaxone could be effective for the treatment of certain neurodegenerative diseases. “Our research team has been involved in the study of ceftriaxone effects on cognitive disorders modeled on dementia in animals in the framework of international cooperation with a team headed by Professor Y.J. Ho, from Chung Shan Medical University (Taiwan). We achieved data demonstrating ceftriaxone’s ability to normalize cognitive deficits in rats with a model of Parkinson's disease, and also studied a number of mechanisms that mediate the effects of the drug”, explained the Head of the Laboratory of Experimental Models of Neurodegenerative Processes of Physiology and Fundamental Medicine, leading researcher, Ph.D., Senior Researcher at the Laboratory of Translational and Clinical Neuroscience Maria Tikhonova.

This work on the effect of ceftriaxone on severe age-related cognition and neuronal deficits was recently published in the International Journal Behavioral Brain Research (Tikhonova et al., 2017, Neuroprotective effects of ceftriaxone treatment on cognitive and neuronal deficits in a rat model of accelerated senescence). The study was carried out on the original model of genetically determined accelerated aging in rats. It was shown that after five weeks of treatment, ceftriaxone

attenuates the severity of cognitive deficits associated with aging and normalizes the reduced density of neurons in the CA1 region of the hippocampus, which is closely involved in the regulation mechanisms of memory and learning in rats. The results of the study suggested that the beneficial effect of ceftriaxone in age-related cognitive impairments is achieved through the activation of mechanisms that ensure the survival of newly formed and mature neurons in the hippocampus. The work is important and promising for understanding the mechanisms and developing effective neuroprotection approaches for dementia.