Metformin new drug for the brain

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Metformin may be useful in stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions involving injured or degenerating brain cells.
Animal studies showed that metformin activates a key pathway (aPKC-CBP) that promotes neurogenesis and enhanced hippocampus-dependent spatial memory formation in study animals. Results also showed that the drug has similar activity on human neural precursors, increasing the likelihood that it might enhance neurogenesis in the human brain as well, according to the study authors from the University of Toronto and Hospital for Sick Children (HSC) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, published in July 5 in Cell Stem Cell.
There’s growing evidence that neural stem cells play a role in repair of the injured or degenerating brain, and that if adult neural stems cells could be recruited, this might provide a novel therapeutic strategy.
An alternative to growth factors are small molecules that promote stem cell self-renewal and/or differentiation by defining relevant signaling pathways. Previous research showed that the CREB-binding protein (CBP) maximizes embryonic neural precursor cell development, and that this protein is activated by atypical protein kinase C (aPKC).
In liver cells, this aPKC-CBP pathway is activated by metformin, which suggests that this drug might activate aPKCs in neural stem cells, and by doing so may recruit adult neural precursors and enhance neural function.
Compared with mice given a control substance, those treated with metformin had about a third more new neurons in the hippocampus, and almost double the number of new neurons produced by stem cells.