Friday, October 24, 2008

A Molecular Link between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer's Disease Pathology

The journal of Molecular Pharmaceutics recently published an article about the molecular link between THC and Alzheimer's disease pathology. The abstract is below and a link to the full article is below the article.

A Molecular Link between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer's Disease Pathology

Lisa M. Eubanks, Claude J. Rogers, Albert E. Beuscher IV, George F. Koob, Arthur J. Olson, Tobin J. Dickerson, and Kim D. Janda*

Departments of Chemistry, Immunology, and Molecular Biology, Molecular and Integrated Neurosciences Department, The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, and Worm Institute for Research and Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037

Received June 11, 2006


Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia among the elderly, and with the ever-increasing size of this population, cases of Alzheimer's disease are expected to triple over the next 50 years. Consequently, the development of treatments that slow or halt the disease progression have become imperative to both improve the quality of life for patients and reduce the health care costs attributable to Alzheimer's disease. Here, we demonstrate that the active component of marijuana, 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), competitively inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE) as well as prevents AChE-induced amyloid -peptide (A) aggregation, the key pathological marker of Alzheimer's disease. Computational modeling of the THC-AChE interaction revealed that THC binds in the peripheral anionic site of AChE, the critical region involved in amyloidgenesis. Compared to currently approved drugs prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, THC is a considerably superior inhibitor of A aggregation, and this study provides a previously unrecognized molecular mechanism through which cannabinoid molecules may directly impact the progression of this debilitating disease.

Keywords: Cannabinoids; Alzheimer's disease; acetylcholinesterase

Mol. Pharmaceutics, 3 (6), 773 -777, 2006. 10.1021/mp060066m S1543-8384(06)00066-9
Web Release Date: August 9, 2006

Copyright © 2006 American Chemical Society


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