Lithium greatly prevents brain damage linked with Parkinson’s disease

Lithium greatly prevents brain damage linked with Parkinson’s diseaseWashington, June 25: A study has found that lithium profoundly prevents the aggregation of toxic proteins and cell loss associated with Parkinson's disease (PD).

The Buck Institute for Research, which carried out the study on a mouse model of the condition, is currently working toward initiating a Phase IIa clinical study of lithium in humans in conjunction with standard PD drug therapy.

"This is the first time lithium has been tested in an animal model of PD," lead author and Buck Professor Julie Andersen, PhD, said.

"The fact that lithium's safety profile in humans is well understood greatly reduces trial risk and lowers a significant hurdle to getting it into the clinic," she stated.

According to Andersen, lithium has recently been suggested to be neuroprotective in relation to several neurodegenerative conditions including Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and has been touted for its anti-aging properties in simple animals.

"The possibility that lithium could be effective in PD patients at sub clinical levels is exciting, because it would avoid many side effects associated at the higher dose range," Andersen said.

Overuse of lithium has been linked to hyperthyroidism and kidney toxicity.

Andersen's research focuses on lithium as a potential treatment for PD as well as its efficacy in combination with drugs currently used to control the symptoms of the disease.

The research appears in the June 24 online edition of the Journal of Neuroscience Research. (ANI)