HKBU Develops F-SLOH to Treat Alzheimer’s Disease

By David Chu
David Chu
David Chu
August 29, 2022 Updated: August 29, 2022

The Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has developed a multifunctional organic compound called F-SLOH, which has the potential to treat early Alzheimer’s disease. The research results were published in the international academic journal “Redox Biology.”

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease with common symptoms such as absent-mindedness, language impairment, being prone to losing direction, mood swings, and other behavioural problems. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 65% of the elderly Chinese with dementia in Hong Kong. On the global scale, in 2021, there were more than 55 million people who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. There is currently no effective way to stop or reverse the course of the disease, only temporary relief of symptoms.

F-SLOH for Diagnosis and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease

The pathological features of Alzheimer’s disease are an abnormal accumulation of Aβ in brain nerve cells, excessive hyperphosphorylation of tau protein, and neuroinflammation, resulting in neuron reduction and cognitive dysfunction. Inhibition of abnormal accumulation of Aβ and excessive hyperphosphorylation of tau protein is regarded as the main and potentially effective method for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

The HKBU research team consists of Li Min, Associate Dean and Professor of the Teaching and Research Department of the School of Chinese Medicine, Ricky Wong Man-shing, Professor of the Department of Chemistry of the Faculty of Science, and Iyaswamy Ashok, Research Assistant Professor of the Teaching and Research Department of the School of Chinese Medicine, et al, had been trying their utmost in finding innovative ways of treatment and diagnosis.

The team had developed a multifunctional anthocyanin probe called F-SLOH, which had been shown to reduce the abnormal accumulation of Aβ, excessive hyperphosphorylation of tau protein, and neuroinflammation in the brain neurons of Alzheimer’s mice and improved their learning cum memory capabilities.

F-SLOH can also be used to detect other biological substances such as proteins and peptides. It can display, in real-time, the accumulation of Aβ in the brain, and is also capable of functioning as a high blood-brain barrier penetrator with low biological toxicity.

F-SLOH Improves Memory and Cognitive Function in Alzheimer’s Mice

The research team designed an experiment to evaluate the effect of F-SLOH on memory in Alzheimer’s mice. They trained the mice to swim in a water maze, let them memorize the position of the floating platform, and then removed the latter. They found that the mice with Alzheimer’s but treated with F-SLOH had a longer swimming time in the original position of the floating platform, an indication they did have improved memory of its original location.

The team then played some audio signals to the mice within a closed box and gave some mild electric shocks to their feet. The mice were then put back into the box a while later and the same audio signals were played. At that very moment, they all appeared to behave rather irrationally and become uneasy and taut as if they were expecting another electrical shock was on the way soon. This was another indication that F-SLOH-treated Alzheimer’s mice remained vigilante and taut for longer periods of time as a result of improved memory.

Professor Wong said that this study is the first of its kind to provide evidence from in vivo animal experiments that F-SLOH is an effective drug able to target a variety of neurodegenerative pathological changes. The findings of this study could play a key role in advancing the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease in humans.

David Chu