A recent collaborative study has found that Parkinson’s disease progression may slow by prostate drugs.
Scientists from Capital Medical University Beijing and the University of Lowa performed this study. They found that a drug used to treat enlarged prostate can affect Parkinson’s disease progression.
One of the prostate drugs called terazosin reduces the effect of alpha-1 adrenergic receptors. As a result, it induces the relaxation of smooth muscles in the prostate.
Studies have shown that terazosin activates an enzyme PGK1, involved in the production of cellular energy, glycolysis.
The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation which determined the potential use of terazosin in Parkinson’s disease.
Researchers suggest that Parkinson’s disease occurs due to mitochondrial failure. As a result, cellular energy metabolism disrupts and leads to nerve cell death.
Some forms of the disease develop due to mutations in cellular metabolism enzymes. However, the disease may also develop in the elderly due to naturally decreased production of energy.
Effects of terazosin on health
Researchers found that terazosin could stop neurodegeneration when given before cell death. After onset, it may slow down the process of neurodegeneration.
Lei Liu stated that during the experiment on animal models of Parkinson’s disease, they all got improved in condition. The drug improved motor coordination as well as the molecular changes in the brain associated with cell death.
Many elderly men are taking terazosin to treat enlarged prostate. However, they may have the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease as well.
Micheal Welsh with his colleagues investigated the existing patients’ database s. They used the Micheal J. Fox Foundation’s PPMI data.
Data showed that patients taking terazosin had a decreased rate of progressive motor disability. On the other hand, patients taking tamsulosin drug (that does not target PGK1) did not show the same effect.
These results were obtained from only 13 patients taking terazosin and 2 other PGK1 activating drugs.
To get reliable results and further confirmation, the team used Market Scan – Truven Health Analytics databases. This contains the data of 250 million individuals.
The team observed that 2,880 Parkinson’s patients were taking one of the three PGK1 activating drugs. 15,409 patients were taking tamsulosin. The team carefully observed patients diagnostic profiles and clinic visits.
They found that patients taking terazosin and other PGK1 activating drugs reduced the signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Currently available Parkinson’s therapies
Present therapies for Parkinson’s disease focus on increasing dopamine or dopamine-producing nerve cells. Researchers tend to find possibilities to prevent or decrease misfolded alpha-synuclein protein. Researchers believe that the accumulation of this protein causes Parkinson’s disease.
In 2018, a study of PNAS observed that build-up of the protein can impair mitochondrial movement. This results in the loss of synapses.
Liu and Welsh with their teams are planning next phase study of terazosin in Parkinson’s disease. The primary goal is to analyze the safety of the drug. This study will guide future researchers’ focus on the studies of medications for disease modification.
Another goal is to observe whether terazosin can reverse the shortage of energy in Parkinson’s disease or not.