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Showing posts with label Roflumilast. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Roflumilast. Show all posts

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Metformin to raise Cognition in Fragile X and some other Autisms?




I started to write this post a long time ago, when Agnieszka first highlighted an interview with Dr Hagerman from UC Davis.  Hagerman is experimenting in using Metformin to treat Fragile-X.

Having again be reminded about Metformin, I realized that I never finished my post on this subject. With some extras about autophagy and a nice graphic courtesy of Ling’s excellent paper, here it is. 

Metformin has already been covered in 5 previous posts.


One interesting point is that the researchers at UC Davis are using the measurement of IQ as one of the outcome measures in their trial of Metformin.  I have been suggesting the French Bumetanide researchers do this for a long time.

It is my opinion that simple medical interventions can have a profound impact on the IQ of some people with severe autism. I mean raising IQ not by 5-10 points as at UC Davis, but by 20-50 points.  IQ can be measured using standardized tools and is far less subjective than any autism rating scale.

The big-time potential IQ enhancers we have seen in this blog include: -

·        Bumetanide/Azosemide
·        Statins (Atorvastatin, Lovastatin, Simvastatin, but they are not equivalent and the effect has nothing to do with lowering cholesterol)
·        Micro-dose Clonazepam
·        Clemastine
·        It seems DMF, in n=2 trial

The good news is that these drugs are all off-patent cheap generics (except DMF), as is metformin.  No need for drugs costing $50,000 a year.

For those that do not know, metformin is the first line medication for type-2 diabetes. It was introduced as a medication in France in 1957 and the United States in 1995.  In many countries Metformin is extremely cheap, with 30 x 500 mg tablets costing about $2 or Eur 2. In the US it costs about $10 for generic, so not expensive. 

There are sound reasons why Metformin could increase IQ in someone with autism or Fragile-X. In the case of idiopathic autism is there a likely biomarker to identify a likely responder? One has not yet been identified.

Clearly Metformin will not work for all people with autism and MR/ID, but even if it only works for 10% that would be great.

Are all parents going to notice an increase in IQ of 5-10 points?  You might think so, but I doubt it.  I would hope therapists, teachers and assistants would notice.

I think basic mental maths is the best way to notice improved cognitive function in people with IQ less than 70.  You can easily establish a baseline and then you can notice/measure improvements.

Improved cognitive function does not just help with maths, it helps with learning basic skills like tying shoe laces, brushing teeth and later shaving.  This does also involve many other types of skill.





In the study, researchers from the UC Davis Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute in California tested the long-term effects of metformin, delivered at 1,000 milligrams (mg) twice a day, for one year in two male patients, 25 and 30 years old. Genetic analysis confirmed that both patients had mutations in the FMR1 gene, confirming their fragile X syndrome diagnoses.

The younger patient had autism and was also diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. First prescribed metformin at 22, he is currently taking 500 mg of metformin twice a day and 10 mg per day of simvastatin — used to lower the level of cholesterol in the blood.
The second patient was also diagnosed with anxiety and exhibited socially nervous behaviors, including panic attacks. He had severe limitations in language use, and communicated in short sentences and by mumbling. He had been on an extended-release formulation of metformin, taking 1,000 mg once a day for one year.

Both patients showed significant cognitive and behavioral improvements. After one year of treatment with metformin, test results revealed an increase in the patients’ IQ scores, from 53 to 57 in the younger patient and from 50 to 58 in the second patient.

Verbal and nonverbal IQ — the ability to analyze information and solve problems using visual or hands-on reasoning — were also improved in both patients. Non-verbal IQ increased from 50 to 52 in the younger patient and from 47 to 51 in the other. Verbal IQ went from 61 to 66 in the first patient, and from 58 to 68 in the second.

                                                              

Researcher Randi Hagerman is a big proponent of metformin — a diabetes drug that helps people manage their weight. In fact, Hagerman takes the drug herself as a preventive measure against cancer.
Metformin has also unexpectedly shown promise for improving cognition in people with fragile X syndrome, a leading genetic cause of autism characterized by severe intellectual disability.

A study published in 2017 linked impaired insulin signalling in the brain to cognitive and social deficits in a fruit fly model of fragile X, and the flies improved on metformin. A second paper that year showed that metformin reverses abnormalities in a mouse model of the syndrome, including the number of branches the mice’s neurons form. It also improved seizures and hyperactivity in the mice — issues we also see in people with fragile X.
I began prescribing metformin to people with fragile X syndrome to help curb overeating. Many of the people I treat are overweight because of this habit — it’s one of the symptoms of a subtype of fragile X called the Prader-Willi phenotype, not to be confused with Prader-Willi syndrome.
I was surprised when the families of these individuals told me they could talk better and carry out conversations, where they couldn’t before. That really gave us impetus to conduct a controlled clinical trial.
It’s not a cure-all, but we do see some positive changes. It doesn’t resolve intellectual disability, but we have seen IQ improvements of up to 10 points in two boys who have been treated with metformin. We are very excited about that.

Individuals on metformin tend to start eating less, and often lose weight as a result. I could kick myself, because metformin has been approved to treat obesity for many years, but I never thought to use it in fragile X syndrome. Oftentimes children with fragile X syndrome have so many problems that you aren’t thinking about obesity as the top priority.
We’ve also seen a gradual effect on language, which we can detect after two to three months. Sometimes there are improvements in other behaviors too; I’ve seen mood-stabilizing effects. Many people with fragile X syndrome have issues with aggression, and it’s possible these could be moderated with metformin too. 

Individuals with fragile X syndrome (FXS) have both behavioral and medical comorbidities and the latter include obesity in approximately 30% and the Prader‐Willi Phenotype (PWP) characterized by severe hyperphagia and morbid obesity in less than 10%. Metformin is a drug used in individuals with type 2 diabetes, obesity or impaired glucose tolerance and it has a strong safety profile in children and adults. Recently published studies in the Drosophila model and the knock out mouse model of FXS treated with metformin demonstrate the rescue of multiple phenotypes of FXS.

Materials and Methods

We present 7 cases of individuals with FXS who have been treated with metformin clinically. One case with type 2 diabetes, 3 cases with the PWP, 2 adults with obesity and/or behavioral problems and, a young child with FXS. These individuals were clinically treated with metformin and monitored for behavioral changes with the Aberrant Behavior Checklist and metabolic changes with a fasting glucose and HgbA1c.

Results

We found consistent improvements in irritability, social responsiveness, hyperactivity, and social avoidance, in addition to comments from the family regarding improvements in language and conversational skills. No significant side‐effects were noted and most patients with obesity lost weight.

Conclusion

We recommend a controlled trial of metformin in those with FXS. Metformin appears to be an effective treatment of obesity including those with the PWP in FXS. Our study suggests that metformin may also be a targeted treatment for improving behavior and language in children and adults with FXS.

Recruiting: Clinical Trial of Metformin for Fragile X Syndrome


While a growing number of families are trying metformin and reporting mixed results, metformin has not yet been systematically studied in patients with Fragile X syndrome. This open-label trial is designed to better understand the safety and efficacy of this medicine on behavior and cognition, and to find the best dosages for children and adults.

20 children and adults with Fragile X syndrome will take metformin 250mg twice a day for the first week, followed by metformin 500mg twice a day for the next 8 weeks.
The study will measure changes in the total score on the Aberrant Behavior Checklist-Community (ABC-C) after 9 weeks of metformin treatment. The ABC-C is a 58-item behavior scale which is filled out by a caregiver. In addition, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) will be used to look for changes in cortical excitability and Electroencephalography (EEG) will assess levels of synaptic plasticity.
Participants in this study must be Canadian residents and be able to travel to the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada, for several visits. If you are interested in metformin but this trial is not convenient, there are two alternatives. FRAXA is funding a new trial of metformin in New Jersey, and Dr. Randi Hagerman is currently recruiting for metformin trial at the University of California at Davis MIND Institute.



Metformin has emerged as a candidate drug for the targeted treatment of FXS based on animal studies showing rescue of multiple phenotypes in the FXS model. Metformin may contribute to normalizing signalling pathways in FXS in the central nervous system, which may include activities of mTOR and PI3K, both of which have shown to be pathogenically overactive in FXS. In addition, metformin inhibits phosphodiesterase, which would lead to correction of cAMP levels, and MMP9 production, which is also elevated in FXS. Looking at the potential signalling pathways, metformin appears to be a good candidate for targeting several of the intracellular functions in neurons disrupted in FXS and, therefore, has potential to rescue several types of symptoms in individuals with FXS. The researchers have utilized metformin in the clinical treatment of over 20 individuals with FXS between the ages of 4 and 58 years and have found the medication to be well tolerated and to provide benefits not only in lowering weight gain and normalizing appetite but also in language and behavior. In this controlled trial, the researchers hope to further assess metformin's safety and benefits in the areas of language and cognition, eating and weight loss, and overall behavior.


mTOR and P13K

Hagerman highlights Metformin’s effects on mTOR and P13K pathways.

This is a highly complex subject and the graphic below from an early post shows how interconnected everything is.  If mTOR is not working correctly you can expect many things not to work as nature intended.

Numerous things can cause an imbalance in mTOR and so there are numerous ways to re-balance it.

Not surprisingly much of this pathway plays a role in many types of cancer.

Hagerman herself is taking Metformin to reduce her chances of developing cancer. I think that is a good choice, particularly if you are overweight.  My anticancer choice, not being overweight, is Atorvastatin which targets inhibition of PI3K signalling through Akt and increases PTEN.

Hagerman is 70 years old and I think many cancers actual initiate years before they are large enough to get noticed and to be effective any preventative therapy needs to be started before that initiation has occurred. Hopefully she started her Metformin long ago. 

Given that 50% of people are likely to develop one cancer or another, I am with Dr Hagerman on the value of prevention, rather than treatment/cure.







The Wrong Statin for Fragile-X?

In the first article highlighted in this post, there is a case history of a man with FX being treated by a Statin, it looks to me that he has the wrong prescription (Simvastatin). Perhaps Dr Hagerman should read this old post from this blog:-


Choose your Statin with Care in FXS, NF1 and idiopathic Autism







   Simvastatin does not reduce ERK1/2 or mTORC1 activation in the Fmr1-/y hippocampus.
So  ? = Does NOT inhibit

The key is to reduce Ras. In the above graphic it questions does Simvastatin inhibit RAS and Rheb.
                                                                                                     

For anyone really interested, the following graphic from a previous post shows the fragile X mental retardation protein, FMRP.  Lack of FMRP goes on increase neuroligins (NLFNS) this then creates an excitatory/inhibitory imbalance which cause mental retardation and features of autism.





This all suggests that the 25 year-old young man with Fragile X treated at UC Davis (case study above) should switch from Simvastatin to Lovastatin.




Metformin and Autophagy

I also think Dr Hagerman is less likely to get dementia now that she is talking metformin.  If she takes vigorous exercise at least once a week, I think that is also going to keep her grey cells ticking over nicely. Like Dr Ben Ari, Hr Hagerman is working way past normal retirement.  If you love your job, then why not?  As with many things, in the case of neurons, “use them or lose them”.

Autophagy in Dementias


Dementias are a varied group of disorders typically associated with memory loss, impaired judgment and/or language and by symptoms affecting other cognitive and social abilities to a degree that interferes with daily functioning. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of a progressive dementia, followed by dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), vascular dementia (VaD) and HIV associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND).
The pathogenesis of this group of disorders has been linked to the abnormal accumulation of proteins in the brains of affected individuals, which in turn has been related to deficits in protein clearance. Autophagy is a key cellular protein clearance pathway with proteolytic cleavage and degradation via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway representing another important clearance mechanism. Alterations in the levels of autophagy and the proteins associated with the autophagocytic pathway have been reported in various types of dementias. This review will examine recent literature across these disorders and highlight a common theme of altered autophagy across the spectrum of the dementias.

Below is an excellent graphic from a paper highlighted by Ling. Note metformin, above AMPK.


Autophagy Activator Drugs: A New Opportunity in Neuroprotection from Misfolded Protein Toxicity









I would highlight the presence of IP3R, the calcium channel proposed by Gargus as being a nexus in autism, for where multiple types of autism meet up, to do damage.

Verapamil, in Monty’s Polypill, increases autophagy independently of mTOR in a complicated mechanism  involving IP3R and likley calpain.  It is proposed as a therapy for Huntington’s Disease via this mechanism. At the lower right of the chart below we see calpain, a group of calcium dependent enzymes, not well understood.  ROS can activate calpains via L-type calcium channels.





I would not worry about the details.  The take home point is that if you have autism, dementia or many other neurological conditions, you might well benefit from increasing autophagy.  There are very many ways to do this.      
                                                           
Conclusion

Fortunately, I am not a doctor.  I do recall when my doctor father was out visiting his sick patients at their homes, he did have not only his medical bag, but also some useful gadgets always kept in his car, that might come in handy.

The autism equivalent is the personalized Polypill therapy for daily use and the autism toolbox to delve into to treat flare-ups in autism as and when they arise.

I do think some people should have metformin in their daily Polypill therapy.

I think we can safely call Fragile-X a type of autism, so we already know it works for at least some autism.  Metformin is a very safe old drug, with minimal side effects and it is cheap.  It ticks all the boxes for a potential autism therapy.  Will it work for your case?  I can tell you with certainty that it does not work for everyone.

Metformin has been trialled to treat people with obesity and autism, since it can reduce appetite.

Metformin forTreatment of Overweight Induced by Atypical Antipsychotic Medication in YoungPeople With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial.


INTERVENTIONS:

Metformin or matching placebo titrated up to 500 mg twice daily for children aged 6 to 9 years and 850 mg twice daily for those 10 to 17 years.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES:

The primary outcome measure was change in body mass index (BMI) z score during 16 weeks of treatment. Secondary outcomes included changes in additional body composition and metabolic variables. Safety, tolerability, and efficacy analyses all used a modified intent-to-treat sample comprising all participants who received at least 1 dose of medication.

RESULTS:

Of the 61 randomized participants, 60 participants initiated treatment (45 [75%] male; mean [SD] age, 12.8 [2.7] years). Metformin reduced BMI z scores from baseline to week 16 significantly more than placebo (difference in 16-week change scores vs placebo, -0.10 [95% CI, -0.16 to -0.04]; P = .003). Statistically significant improvements were also noted in secondary body composition measures (raw BMI, -0.95 [95% CI, -1.46 to -0.45] and raw weight, -2.73 [95% CI, -4.04 to -1.43]) but not in metabolic variables. Overall, metformin was well tolerated. Five participants in the metformin group discontinued treatment owing to adverse events (agitation, 4; sedation, 1). Participants receiving metformin vs placebo experienced gastrointestinal adverse events during a significantly higher percentage of treatment days (25.1% vs 6.8%; P = .005).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:

Metformin may be effective in decreasing weight gain associated with atypical antipsychotic use and is well tolerated by children and adolescents with ASD.

My guess is that a minority will be responders, the benefit will manifest itself in different ways and so it will be a useful part of polytherapy for some people, but it will not be a silver bullet.  Other than via an IQ test, I think the benefit will be hard to measure, even when it is very evident. 

In the end there will be a clever way to predict who will respond to which therapy.  Today’s post actually replaces one that will look into genetic testing and DEGs (differentially expressed genes). Most likely testing for DEGs will be the best predictor of what drugs work for whom.

Intelligent, cautious trial and error using safe drugs is an alternative strategy.  It is available today; it is cheap and it does work.

I have not tried Metformin yet, in recent years I have had most success with my own ideas. I have some of Dr Frye's calcium folinate sitting at home waiting for a trial.  Both Metformin and calcium folinate should be trialled.  The other obvious thing to trial is that Japanese PDE4 inhibitor Ibudilast (Ketas).  Thanks to Rene we now know you can acquire this is via any international pharmacy in Germany, with a prescription. It also reappeared on the website of a Japanese online pharmacy. The Western PDE4 inhibitors, like Daxas/Roflumilast are not selective enough and so are emetic (they make you want to vomit). Low dose Roflumilast has been patented as a cognitive enhancer, but you may need to have a bucket with you at all times.




     






Tuesday, 15 January 2019

More Myelin? Or just Better Myelination - Intelligence, PDE4 and Clemastine again




Myelination in the Central Nervous System (CNS)                  Oligodendrocyte myelinating multiple axons

The previous post on myelin was this one.


In that post we saw that you can activate P2X7 receptors with an antihistamine called Clemastine and you can block P2X7 with another cheap antihistamine called Oxatomide. The P2X7 receptor plays a role in both inflammation and myelination and this receptor appears to be linked to neurological disorders including schizophrenia and even depression.
In that post I also compared experimental MS therapies with experimental autism therapies.




The yellow box means, we know it works, at least for some people, based on trial results.

The widely available PDE4 inhibitor, Roflumilast, has been patented as a cognitive enhancer, but even at that lower dose it can make people vomit.  Ibudilast seems to have fewer side effects and is under investigation in the US to treat MS, but is currently only approved in Japan and as an asthma therapy.
The logical next step is to investigate the two P2X7 modifying antihistamines, which should have opposing effects.
Oxatomide is widely used in Italy. Clemastine is OTC in the US and the UK.
I did some more investigation of Clemastine and came across some encouraging reports of off-label use in psychiatry at modest doses. Off label use to treat MS at high doses was associated with quite negative reports, due to the sedating effect, which is inevitable with antihistamines that can cross the blood brain barrier.
Today’s post goes into more detail about myelination and concludes with the open question of who might actually benefit from a half dose of clemastine, (Dayhist in the US, Tavegil in the UK); clearly some people do already benefit. 
At least one US child psychiatrist is a fan and the research suggests many conditions might benefit, ranging from severe to more trivial.  At 15-20 times higher dosage, clemastine is proposed as a therapy for Multiple Sclerosis (MS), but at that dosage clemastine is highly sedating. High dose clemastine might be a potential immediate response to the onset of regression in autism and CDD (Childhood Disintegrative Disorder).
Clemastine and Ibudilast have different modes of action. Clemastine works by activating P2X7 receptors in oligodendrocytes (in the CNS) and schwann cells (in the PNS) to make more myelin.
PDE4 inhibitors cause enhanced differentiation of OPCs (oligodendrocyte progenitor cells). OPC are precursors to oligodendrocytes.
So Roflumilast and Ibudilast should make more oligodendrocytes, while clemastine just kicks the ones you already have to work harder.  So in any one person the effect of these two types of drug may very well differ. 
Also, note that myelin needs to be constantly repaired in a process naturally called remyelination. So really we are just trying to benefit from improving this already existing repair service.

Some relevant background information:



“Myelination is only prevalent in a few brain regions at birth and continues into adulthood. The entire process is not complete until about 25–30 years of age. Myelination is an important component of intelligence. Neuroscientist Vincent J. Schmithorst proposes that there is a correlation with white matter and intelligence. People with greater white matter had higher IQs. A study done with rats by Janice M. Juraska showed that rats that were raised in an enriched environment had more myelination in their corpus callosum. 
In cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, stroke and possibly multiple sclerosis, oligodendrocytes are thought to be damaged by excessive release of the neurotransmitter, glutamate. Damage has also been shown to be mediated by N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors. Oligodendrocyte dysfunction may also be implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.”

The role of myelin
Myelin has been compared to the insulation on electrical cables.  If only it was that simple, there would not be so many genes involved in the process.

Nodes of Ranvier do matter
If you look at the above graphic of a neuron you will see gaps in the myelin, that are called Nodes of Ranvier.
The electrical signal does not pass along the axon like a piece of copper wire, rather it jumps from one Node of Ranvier to the next, in a process called saltatory conduction.
Also each subsequent piece of myelin along the length of an axon is connected to a different oligodendrocyte. Otherwise there would be no electrical conduction possible; there has to be a “potential difference” for a current to flow.
Each oligodendrocyte can be connected to 50 different pieces of myelin, many on different axons. Just imagine what that looks like; forget the spaghetti of cables connected to your TV, this is something really jumbled up.
If the electrical signal jumps to an adjacent axon rather than jumping along the same axon, there will be a problem.
If there is too much myelin produced you might squeeze out the node of Ranvier and then the signal cannot pass along to the next neuron.



Myelination Defects in Autism
We have already seen in previous posts that myelination is often found to be abnormal in autism.
A very thorough recent study looked at myelination in a number of single gene autisms. The conclusion was that in these very different types of autism there was a common theme of defective myelination.
This adds further weight to the idea of considering impaired myelination a key feature of much autism.
Loss of myelination has been suggested to be a core feature of regressive autism and I propose a very likely driver of Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD).
“Improving myelination” rather than simply “more myelination” might well be very helpful to many types of severe autism. It seems that even in much milder neurological conditions improving myelination can be therapeutic.
The usual target of experimental myelination therapies is Multiple Sclerosis (MS), it may also be the hardest to treat.
Some researchers and clinicians are repurposing MS therapies for other neurological disorders, either in mouse models or in humans.  This seems like a very good idea to me. 

One Sentence Summary: RNA sequencing of seven syndromic autism mouse models identify myelination genes disrupted in human ASD.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is genetically heterogeneous in nature with convergent symptomatology, suggesting dysregulation of common molecular pathways. We analyzed transcriptional changes in the brains of five independent mouse models of Pitt-Hopkins Syndrome (PTHS), a syndromic ASD caused by autosomal dominant mutation in TCF4, and identified considerable overlap in differentially expressed genes (DEGs). Gene and cell-type enrichment analyses of these DEGs identified oligodendrocyte dysregulation that was subsequently validated by decreased protein levels. We further showed significant enrichment of myelination genes was prevalent in two additional mouse models of ASD (Ptenm3m4/m3m4, Mecp2KO). Moreover, we integrated syndromic ASD mouse model DEGs with ASD risk-gene sets (SFARI) and human idiopathic ASD postmortem brain RNA-seq and found significant enrichment of overlapping DEGs and common biological pathways associated with myelination and oligodendrocyte differentiation. These results from seven independent mouse models are validated in human brain, implicating disruptions in myelination is a common ASD pathophysiology.

To address these questions, we performed integrative transcriptomic analyses of seven independent mouse models of three syndromic forms of ASD generated across five laboratories, and assessed dysregulated genes and their pathways in human postmortem brain from patients with ASD and unaffected controls. These cross-species analyses converged on shared disruptions in myelination and axon development across both syndromic and idiopathic ASD, highlighting both the face validity of mouse models for these disorders and identifying novel convergent molecular phenotypes amendable to rescue with therapeutics. 

Shared myelination gene regulation between mouse models of syndromic ASD. Venn diagram of DEGs (differentially expressed genes) in each mouse model of ASD




Top GO (Gene ontology) terms of the CAGs (convergent ASD genes) enrich for myelination processes



P2X purinoceptor 7 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the P2RX7 gene.

The product of this gene belongs to the family of purinoceptors for ATP. Multiple alternatively spliced variants which would encode different isoforms have been identified although some fit nonsense-mediated decay criteria.
The receptor is found in the central and peripheral nervous systems, in microglia, in macrophages, in uterine endometrium, and in the retina. The P2X7 receptor also serves as a pattern recognition receptor for extracellular ATP-mediated apoptotic cell death, regulation of receptor trafficking, mast cell degranulation, and inflammation.


Our findings point to P2X7R as a potential therapeutic target in schizophrenia.


The P2X7 purinergic receptor: An emerging therapeutic target in cardiovascular diseases

The P2X7 purinergic receptor, a calcium permeable cationic channel, is activated by extracellular ATP. Most studies show that P2X7 receptor plays an important role in the nervous system diseases, immune response, osteoporosis and cancer. Mounting evidence indicates that P2X7 receptor is also associated with cardiovascular disease. For example, the P2X7 receptor activated by ATP can attenuate myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury. By contrast, inhibition of P2X7 receptor decreases arrhythmia after myocardial infarction, prolongs cardiac survival after a long term heart transplant, alleviates the dilated cardiomyopathy and the autoimmune myocarditis process. The P2X7 receptor also mitigates vascular diseases including atherosclerosis, hypertension, thrombosis and diabetic retinopathy. This review focuses on the latest research on the role and therapeutic potential of P2X7 receptor in cardiovascular diseases.

Clemastine is an extracellularly binding allosteric P2X7 receptor modulator.
Clemastine can potentiate the sensitivity of P2X7 to lower ATP concentrations. Additionally, clemastine increases the release of IL-1β from macrophages. Thus, clemastine may be a potential P2X7 activator.

Brain ischemia leading to stroke is a major cause of disability in developed countries. Therapeutic strategies have most commonly focused on protecting neurons from ischemic damage. However, ischemic damage to white matter causes oligodendrocyte death, myelin disruption, and axon dysfunction, and it is partially mediated by glutamate excitotoxicity. We have previously demonstrated that oligodendrocytes express ionotropic purinergic receptors. The objective of this study was to investigate the role of purinergic signaling in white matter ischemia. We show that, in addition to glutamate, enhanced ATP signaling during ischemia is also deleterious to oligodendrocytes and myelin, and impairs white matter function. Thus, ischemic oligodendrocytes in culture display an inward current and cytosolic Ca(2+) overload, which is partially mediated by P2X7 receptors. Indeed, oligodendrocytes release ATP after oxygen and glucose deprivation through the opening of pannexin hemichannels. Consistently, ischemia-induced mitochondrial depolarization as well as oxidative stress culminating in cell death are partially reversed by P2X7 receptor antagonists, by the ATP degrading enzyme apyrase and by blockers of pannexin hemichannels. In turn, ischemic damage in isolated optic nerves, which share the properties of brain white matter, is greatly attenuated by all these drugs. Ultrastructural analysis and electrophysiological recordings demonstrated that P2X7 antagonists prevent ischemic damage to oligodendrocytes and myelin, and improved action potential recovery after ischemia. These data indicate that ATP released during ischemia and the subsequent activation of P2X7 receptor is critical to white matter demise during stroke and point to this receptor type as a therapeutic target to limit tissue damage in cerebrovascular diseases.

Clemastine as a practical intervention
I came across a discussion among MS sufferers and a specific comment from a US child psychiatrist that drew my attention.


Daniel Kerlinsky says:   september 1 1, 2018 at 123 AM

Clemastine is a highly effective medication for re-myelination of white matter fiber bundles that connect neurons everywhere in the brain.
High doses aren't needed. One quarter of a 2.68 mg tablet is enough to start recruiting new oligodendrocytes to start making and applying myelin.
It does not have to be taken every day; it can be taken twice a week and still have a positive effect by recruiting the worker cells that repair the brain.
Remember normal myelination starts at the top of the brain and works downward during childhood development. At first the baby can't hold its head up, then it can sit up, then crawl, then stand.
Many MS lesions are located further down inside the brain and spinal cord so it takes time to get there.
The anti-inflammatory Minocycline taken once or twice a week is needed to stop the inflammatory part of the disease.                                                                            
And it takes cranio-sacral therapy to take full advantage of the new myelin which plumps the brain and even lubricates stiff joints like the sphenoid-occipital junction.
Don't give up on clemastine.

Its first and most obvious effect is improved emotional self regulation. Because myelination increases the speed of information processing ten-fold you will notice that thinking better comes next.
I can't tell you how long it will take to notice a difference. But the MS patient who told me about Clemastine got up out of her electric wheel chair and walked down the hall and back without a walker or her canes for the first time in two years.
It works great for kids with tantrums and developmental problems in about a month. It helps people with chronic depression and PTSD in about three months.
Back your dose down to 1.34 mg or 0.67 mg and give it two years. It takes a toddler that long.„



Increasing evidence suggests that white matter disorders based on myelin sheath impairment may underlie the neuropathological changes in schizophrenia. But it is unknown whether enhancing remyelination is a beneficial approach to schizophrenia. To investigate this hypothesis, we used clemastine, an FDA-approved drug with high potency in promoting oligodendroglial differentiation and myelination, on a cuprizone-induced mouse model of demyelination. The mice exposed to cuprizone (0.2% in chow) for 6 weeks displayed schizophrenia-like behavioral changes, including decreased exploration of the center in the open field test and increased entries into the arms of the Y-maze, as well as evident demyelination in the cortex and corpus callosum. Clemastine treatment was initiated upon cuprizone withdrawal at 10 mg/kg per day for 3 weeks. As expected, myelin repair was greatly enhanced in the demyelinated regions with increased mature oligodendrocytes (APC-positive) and myelin basic protein. More importantly, the clemastine treatment rescued the schizophrenia-like behavioral changes in the open field test and the Y-maze compared to vehicle, suggesting a beneficial effect via promoting myelin repair. Our findings indicate that enhancing remyelination may be a potential therapy for schizophrenia.

Altered myelin structure and oligodendrocyte function have been shown to correlate with cognitive and motor dysfunction and deficits in social behavior. We and others have previously demonstrated that social isolation in mice induced behavioral, transcriptional, and ultrastructural changes in oligodendrocytes of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). However, whether enhancing myelination and oligodendrocyte differentiation could be beneficial in reversing such changes remains unexplored. To test this hypothesis, we orally administered clemastine, an antimuscarinic compound that has been shown to enhance oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelination in vitro, for 2 weeks in adult mice following social isolation. Clemastine successfully reversed social avoidance behavior in mice undergoing prolonged social isolation. Impaired myelination was rescued by oral clemastine treatment, and was associated with enhanced oligodendrocyte progenitor differentiation and epigenetic changes. Clemastine induced higher levels of repressive histone methylation (H3K9me3), a marker for heterochromatin, in oligodendrocytes, but not neurons, of the PFC. This was consistent with the capability of clemastine in elevating H3K9 histone methyltransferases activity in cultured primary mouse oligodendrocytes, an effect that could be antagonized by cotreatment with muscarine. Our data suggest that promoting adult myelination is a potential strategy for reversing depressive-like social behavior.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Oligodendrocyte development and myelination are highly dynamic processes influenced by experience and neuronal activity. However, whether enhancing myelination and oligodendrocyte differentiation is beneficial to treat depressive-like behavior has been unexplored. Mice undergoing prolonged social isolation display impaired myelination in the prefrontal cortex. Clemastine, a Food and Drug Administration-approved antimuscarinic compound that has been shown to enhance myelination under demyelinating conditions, successfully reversed social avoidance behavior in adult socially isolated mice. This was associated with enhanced myelination and oligodendrocyte differentiation in the prefrontal cortex through epigenetic regulation. Thus, enhancing myelination may be a potential means of reversing depressive-like social behavior.



BACKGROUND:

Multiple sclerosis is a degenerative inflammatory disease of the CNS characterised by immune-mediated destruction of myelin and progressive neuroaxonal loss. Myelin in the CNS is a specialised extension of the oligodendrocyte plasma membrane and clemastine fumarate can stimulate differentiation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells in vitro, in animal models, and in human cells. We aimed to analyse the efficacy and safety of clemastine fumarate as a treatment for patients with multiple sclerosis.

METHODS:


We did this single-centre, 150-day, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, crossover trial (ReBUILD) in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis with chronic demyelinating optic neuropathy on stable immunomodulatory therapy. Patients who fulfilled international panel criteria for diagnosis with disease duration of less than 15 years were eligible. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) via block randomisation using a random number generator to receive either clemastine fumarate (5·36 mg orally twice daily) for 90 days followed by placebo for 60 days (group 1), or placebo for 90 days followed by clemastine fumarate (5·36 mg orally twice daily) for 60 days (group 2). The primary outcome was shortening of P100 latency delay on full-field, pattern-reversal, visual-evoked potentials. We analysed by intention to treat. The trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02040298.

FINDINGS:


Between Jan 1, 2014, and April 11, 2015, we randomly assigned 50 patients to group 1 (n=25) or group 2 (n=25). All patients completed the study. The primary efficacy endpoint was met with clemastine fumarate treatment, which reduced the latency delay by 1·7 ms/eye (95% CI 0·5-2·9; p=0·0048) when analysing the trial as a crossover. Clemastine fumarate treatment was associated with fatigue, but no serious adverse events were reported.

INTERPRETATION:


To our knowledge, this is the first randomised controlled trial to document efficacy of a remyelinating drug for the treatment of chronic demyelinating injury in multiple sclerosis. Our findings suggest that myelin repair can be achieved even following prolonged damage.



Drug: Clemastine

12mg (4mg 3x/day) clemastine for 7 days followed by 8mg clemastine (4mg 2x/day) until 3 months. Patients will be off treatment from 3-9 months and will be reevaluated at 9 months.



Conclusion
Hopefully this post takes us one step closer to finding safe, side effect free, inexpensive ways to improve myelination in those with impaired myelination.

In the case of treating Multiple Sclerosis (MS), side effects clearly remain an issue. The suggestion of the psychiatrist in today’s post is to just lower the clemastine dosage and give it some time (2 years).  That sounds like smart advice to me.
Fortunately, it appears that in less severe cases of impaired myelination you may not need to wait 2 years.

Who exactly is going to benefit remains an open question, but for people already using H1 antihistamines to treat allergy, or other mast cell activation, switching to a different OTC antihistamine drug does not look like such a big step to take.
People with schizophrenia and allergy also might want to consider switching their antihistamine.

Undoubtedly some people will have the opposite issue with P2X7 receptors and for them there is another old antihistamine drug called Oxatomide.