March 14, 2016
I might be a boon for the aging brain.
What molecule am I?
Image of Montelukast 3D Image of Montelukast

Montelukast (trade name Singulair) is a drug developed by Merck for maintenance treatment of asthma and relieving allergy symptoms. It is a leukotriene receptor antagonist that blocks leukotriene and its secondary ligands from cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 1 in the lungs and bronchial tubes.

Recently, a team led by Ludwig Aigner at Paracelsus Private Medical University of Salzburg (Austria) discovered an entirely new use for montelukast.

Noting that the signaling protein related to asthma-type inflammation is associated with age-related brain inflammation and impaired cognition in rodents, they gave the drug to “old” lab rats to see if their brains could function as well as their younger counterparts.

The researchers found that the 20-month-old rats did as well as the 4-month-olds in learning and memory tests. The older rats had less brain inflammation and increased neuron growth compared with untreated controls. This discovery could lead to new drugs for treating neurodegenerative diseases.

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