Folic Acid potentiates the effect of memantine on spatial learning and neuronal protection in an Alzheimer's disease transgenic model.J Alzheimers Dis. 2010; 20(2):607-15.JA
Folic acid deficiency and hyperhomocysteinemia potentiate amyloid-beta (Abeta) neuron toxicity. Memantine, an NMDA antagonist used in moderate to severe AD, is considered to be neuroprotective. We propose that folic acid might have a synergistic effect for memantine in protecting neurons from Abeta accumulation. We treated 8-month-old Tg2576 transgenic mice with memantine (30 mg/kg/day) with or without folic acid (8 mg/kg/day) for 4 months. Escape latencies in the Morris water maze were significantly shorter in the folic acid-memantine treatment group Tg(+)_M+F compared to both the non-treatment transgenic controls Tg(+) and the memantine-treatment group Tg(+)_M (both p < 0.05). Analysis of Abeta40 and Abeta42 showed lower brain loads in both treatment groups but this did not reach statistical significance. Histopathology analysis showed that Tg(+)_M+F had lower ratios of neuronal damage than Tg(+) (p < 0.001) and Tg(+)_M (p< 0.005). DNA analysis revealed that in the Tg(+)M_+F group, transcription was upregulated in 72 brain genes involved in neurogenesis, neural differentiation, memory, and neurotransmission compared to the Tg(+)_M group. In conclusion, we found that folic acid may potentiate the effect of memantine on spatial learning and neuronal protection. The benefit of combination therapy may be through co-action on the methylation-controlled Abeta production, and modification of brain gene expression.