Such cholinergic deficits correlate with cognitive decline as measured by the Blessed-Roth Dementia Rating Scale.2 Thus, considerable therapeutic clinical research effort. has focused on cholinergic strategies, the obvious rationale being that, potentiation of central cholinergic function
should improve the cognitive impairment, associated with AD. Cholinergic treatment approaches Cholinergic treatment approaches include precursor loading, cholinesterase inhibition, direct cholinergic receptor stimulation, and Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical indirect, cholinergic stimulation.1 Unfortunately, most of these cholinergic strategies have thus far proven either ineffective, effective but too toxic, or have not been completely developed. Among these, only ChEIs as a class have shown generally consistent symptomatic efficacy in short-term trials lasting from 3 to 6 months. These have been for the most part standardized, well-controlled multicenter studies, and have included
agents such as tacrine, velnacrine, physostigmine, eptastigmine, donepezil, rivastigmine, Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical metrifonate, galantamine, and others. It is notable, also, that most of the ChEIs in development have been abandoned because of toxicity, and to some degree, efficacy issues. As a group, however, the few surviving agents are relatively well tolerated over the short term, and are associated with measurable cognitive benefit in a substantial proportion of Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical Epigenetic inhibitor patients with mild-tomoderate AD. Rationale for, and mechanisms of” cholinesterase inhibition As mentioned above, considerable evidence supports the concept of cholinergic insufficiency in AD, and the rationale for the use of ChEIs is their ability Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical to boost ACh levels in synapses in tracts supporting cognitive function. When functioning normally, cholinergic neurons in the central nervous system (CNS) release ACh into the synaptic cleft, where it binds to postsynaptic or presynaptic receptors, Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical either muscarinic or nicotinic, depending on the specific tract, to which the cell belongs. ACh remains active until it is hydrolyzed to choline and acetate by acetylcholinesterase (AChE). By inhibiting AChE, and hence the hydrolysis of ACh in the synaptic cleft, ChEIs effectively
increase the amount of ACh available for cholinergic receptors. This action, in theory, compensates at least partially for the effects of CNS cholinergic hypof unction in AD. AChE contains two subsit.es, an ionic subsite and an esteratic subsite, that bind to ACh. The PD184352 (CI-1040) ionic subsite binds the quaternary amine group of ACh, then the ester group of ACh is cleaved by acylation at the catalytic esteratic site. Therefore, a potential ChEI medication can act at either of these two sites to prevent the normal interaction between ACh and AChE. Tacrine and donepezil act. at. the ionic subsite. Physostigmine, rivastigmine, and the metabolite of metrifonate (2,2-dimethyldichlorovinyl phosphate [DDVP]) act at the catalytic esteratic subsite.