Researchers at the University of Queensland have identified another function of a drug Tandospirone that could reverse the ill effects of heavy alcohol consumption on the brain. Excess consumption of alcohol negatively influences neurogenesis-the process associated with the regeneration of neurons. As it is said discoveries happen accidentally in science same is the case here when the researchers found out they are working in other direction. It is known from several studies that Tandospirone improves neurogenesis, but this is the first study that showed that the drug reverses the alcohol-induced neurogenic deficit.
What is Tandospirone?
Tandospirone or Seidel is a drug is used in Japan and China for anxiety and depression. Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals, Co., Ltd is the company involved in the development of this drug. The company claims the drug to be non-addictive, non-sedative and free from any side effects. The mechanism of action of the drug involves acting on the serotonin receptor 5-HT1A in the brain and thereby displays anti-anxiety and anti-depression effects. Most of the drugs are associated with various side effects such as drowsiness and dizziness. But since Tandospirone does not act on other nerves related to the brain it has no side effects.
Laboratory studies on mice:
The team of researchers modelled binge-like alcohol consumption in mice for 15 weeks. They then treated the mice every day with Tandospirone for two weeks. They found that the drug reversed the effects the alcohol consumption on neurogenesis in the treated mice. Not only that, the mice had reduced binge-line alcohol consumption when a choice was given.
In general, the brain renews the damaged cells by the process of neurogenesis, but long-term consumption of alcohol will damage the process. According to Sean Bartlett, a professor at Translational Research Institute, the drug not only reduces the binge-like alcohol consumption but also but also minimizes the behavioural consequences associated with alcohol drinking. So, it also helps to reduce the anxiety and depression most often arises from the excessive drinking of alcohol. The researchers further believe that other symptoms such as learning and memory impairments might be due to interrupted neurogenesis. Further, they believe that Tandospirone can reverse these ill effects. The co-authors of this study include QUT postdoctoral research fellows Dr Arnauld Belmer and Dr Omkar Patkar.
The Research is published in the Journal Scientific Reports