Several studies both in in vitro and in vivo models have demonstrated that galantamine protects against disease-induced apoptosis of neurons.
Most of the studied neuroprotective effects of galantamine seem to be mediated by α7 nAChR, a subtype of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor that has the highest Ca2+ permeability of all nicotinic receptors and seems to be associated with many modulatory activities in the CNS.
Interestingly, activation of this receptor is thought to affect neurogenic vasodilation, with perivascular sympathetic nerve Ca2+ influx leading to noradrenalin release, subsequent ß-adrenoreceptor activation and NO release. These findings suggest a link between the nAChR deficit in AD and cerebrovascular risk factors of AD.
Based on such effects, Galantos Pharma is developing candidates able to act as neuroprotectives. These drugs may be able to slow down, or even halt the course of Alzheimer's Disease, and hence could well complement other therapeutic approaches under development.