September 7, 2018
We congratulate Dr. Betty Diamond of Feinstein Institute for Medical Research for her recently published work showing that ACE inhibitors, a specific type of hypertension drugs approved for lowering high blood pressure may prevent memory loss for people with lupus. With her 2018 Lupus Insight Prize from the Lupus Research Alliance, Dr. Diamond will build upon this work in mice to specifically measure the ability to remember the location of objects and to measure whether ACE inhibitors change the activity of particular genes in the immune system cells in the brain known as microglia.
Following is an excerpt from the press release issued by Feinstein Institute for Medical Research reporting Dr. Diamond’s publication:
The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research researchers published data yesterday in the Journal of Experimental Medicine that shows the class of drugs commonly used to treat hypertension, ACE inhibitors, can block cognitive decline in mice and might therefore be used to preserve the memory of patients living with lupus.
Lupus is a complex autoimmune disease that arises when the body starts to make antibodies that target its own, healthy cells, often specifically recognizing DNA. Patients can suffer a wide variety of symptoms, but as many as 90 percent develop neuropsychiatric lupus, which is often characterized by cognitive impairments such as memory loss or confusion.
After discovering that the activation of brain cells called microglia likely contributes to the memory loss and other cognitive impairments suffered by many patients with lupus, Betty Diamond, MD, and other Feinstein Institute colleagues wanted to find a way to block microglia. ACE inhibitors are known to block the activation of microglia. In their study with mice, Diamond and colleagues found that the ACE inhibitor captopril protected neurons against activated microglia, preserving their function and the cognitive performance of the mice.