Multi-Targeting Intranasal Nanoformulation as a Therapeutic for Alzheimer’s Disease


“Melatonin, insulin, and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have been shown to reverse cognitive deficits and attenuate neuropathologies in transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) when used individually. Here, we evaluated the therapeutic properties of long-term intranasal treatment with a novel nanoformulation containing melatonin, insulin, and THC in aged APPswe/PS1ΔE9 (APP/PS1) mice, a transgenic model of AD.

Transgenic mice at the age of 12 months were intranasally administered with a new nanoformulation containing melatonin, insulin, and THC at doses of 0.04, 0.008, and 0.02 mg/kg, respectively, once daily for 3 months. The spatial memory of the mice was assessed using the radial arm water maze (RAWM) test before and after drug treatment. Brain tissues were collected at the end of the treatment period for the assessment of Aβ load, tauopathy state, and markers of mitochondrial function.

The RAWM test revealed that the treatment with the melatonin-insulin-THC (MIT) nasal spray improved the spatial learning memory of APP/PS1 mice significantly. Results of protein analyses of brain homogenates indicated that MIT treatment significantly decreased the tau phosphorylation implicated in tau toxicity (p < 0.05) and the expression of CKMT1 associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. Moreover, MIT significantly decreased the expression of two mitochondrial fusion-related proteins, Mfn2 and Opa1 (p < 0.01 for both), while increasing the expression of a mitophagy regulator, Parkin, suggesting a compensatory enhancement of mitophagy due to MIT-promoted mitochondrial fusion.

In conclusion, this study was the first to demonstrate the ability of an MIT nanoformulation to improve spatial memory in AD mice through its multi-targeting effects on Aβ production, tau phosphorylation, and mitochondrial dynamics. Thus, MIT may be a safe and effective therapeutic for AD.”

“The results of the present study provide the first evidence that MIT nanoformulation containing melatonin, insulin, and THC has potential as a multi-targeting treatment for AD.”

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