Effects of Lithium and Divalproex`on Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in Huntington's Disease
This study will examine whether lithium carbonate, given alone or with divalproex, increases the amount of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the spinal fluid of patients with Huntington's disease (HD), a hereditary disorder of the central nervous system. Patients with this fatal degenerative disease have lower amounts of substances in the brain and spinal fluid called trophic or growth factors. One of these factors is BDNF. A possible treatment for HD may be to increase the levels of BDNF. Lithium carbonate, a drug used to treat bipolar disorder, and divalproex, a drug used to treat mood disorders and seizure disorders, have both been shown to increase the amount of BDNF protein in laboratory studies.
Patients 18 to 70 years old with a DNA-confirmed diagnosis of Huntington's disease may be eligible for this study. Candidates are screened with a medical history and physical examination, neurological evaluation, blood and urine tests, and electrocardiogram (EKG).
Participants take lithium carbonate with and without divalproex. They also receive placebo (an inactive substance) for portions of the study. On the first day of the study, patients are given a supply of pills with instructions on how to take them. Blood pressure and pulse are measured, and blood and urine tests may be done. Patients are evaluated with standardized tests and scales for assessment of various aspects of HD.
Patients return to the clinic once a week for follow-up evaluations, including blood and urine tests, physical examinations, disease assessments, and a review of medication side effects. Each week, they receive a new supply of medications and instructions on how to take them. At the end of the sixth week, they finish taking the medications.
During the study, patients undergo three lumbar punctures (spinal taps) - at weeks 2, 4, and 6 - to measure BDNF and various other brain chemicals. For this test, a local anesthetic is given and a needle is inserted in the space between the bones in the lower back where the CSF circulates below the spinal cord. A small amount of fluid is collected through the needle. The procedure generally takes from 5 to 20 minutes.
Patients return to the clinic 2 weeks after completing the study medication for a final evaluation, including a physical examination and blood and urine tests.
|Study Design:||Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study
Primary Purpose: Treatment
|Official Title:||Stimulation of Tyrosine Kinase and ERK Signaling Pathways in Huntington's Disease|
|Study Start Date:||October 2004|
|Estimated Study Completion Date:||March 2005|
Objective: The overall objective of this study is to examine the acute effects of lithium alone and/ or in combination with divalproex on markers of neuroprotective activity in patients with Huntington's disease (HD). It is hypothesized that at safe and tolerable doses these drugs will enhance depleted levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurotrophin which is necessary for the survival of striatal neurons.
Study population: Patients suffering from Huntington's disease will be study participants.
Design: The acute effects of lithium and divalproex on surrogate measures of neuroprotective activity will be evaluated in up to 24 HD patients. The study, lasting approximately 6 weeks, will be conducted on an outpatient basis.
Outcome measures: In this proof-of-principle study, efficacy in restoring BDNF concentrations will be assessed through cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) measurements. Safety will be monitored by means of frequent clinical evaluations and laboratory test.
|United States, Maryland|
|National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)|
|Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892|