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Saturday, May 18, 2024 | Back issues
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Study Touts Aspirin |in Disease Prevention

(CN) - Aspirin may be effective in treating Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Huntington's diseases, the National Science Foundation reported.

According to a new study, salicylic acid, a component of aspirin, binds to GAPDH, an enzyme that is believed to be a major factor in neurodegenerative diseases.

This binding action stops GAPDH from moving into the nucleus of a cell and triggering its death, according to the researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Boyce Thompson Institute.

A current Parkinson's drug, deprenyl, also blocks GAPDH from entering cell nuclei and delivering a fatal blow.

Cornell University professor Daniel Klessig, the study's main author, has been studying salicylic acid for years, but mostly in plants. Salicylic acid is a key hormone in the regulation of a plant's immune system.

Over the years, Klessig found that some of the plant targets in his salicylic acid studies had equivalents in humans.

"The new study establishes that GAPDH is a target for salicylate drugs related to aspirin, and hence may be relevant to the therapeutic actions of such drugs," said Solomon Snyder, a professor at Johns Hopkins University and co-author of the study.

In addition, the researchers found that natural and lab-synthesized derivatives of salicylic acid can be more effective at blocking GAPDH than the original hormone.

A medical journal called PLOS One published the study online on Nov. 25.

Earlier this year, Klessig's group found that salicylic acid could also be effective to block inflammation for patients with diseases such as arthritis, lupus and certain cancers.

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