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AMPAKINE compounds a new potential treatment for respiratory depression

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The drug tested in this study belongs to a novel class of molecules known as AMPAKINE compounds being developed by Cortex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. located in Irvine, California. AMPAKINE compounds act on the most common excitatory receptor in the brain, the AMPA "Glutamate type receptor," which has been shown in rodent models to boost the brain's own protein for improving age-related deficits in memory mechanisms. In primate models AMPAKINE compounds have replicated the studies in rodents and in adults patients suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, significant clinical and statistical improvement in increase attention and decrease hyperactivity have been observed. The U. Alberta research provide evidence that another important AMPAKINE indication is to stimulate primitive areas of the brain called the pre-Botzinger Complex responsible for breathing, without causing side effects. The pre-Botzinger Complex generated respiratory-related oscillations similar to those generated by the whole brainstem in vitro, and neurons with voltage-dependent pacemaker-like properties that have been identified in this brain region.

In a study published in 2006, Dr. John J. Greer of U. Alberta demonstrated that certain AMPAKINE compounds enhance the respiratory drive and breathing rhythm at the brain-stem level containing the pre-Botzinger Complex in laboratory rats whose respiration rates were purposely suppressed by administration of central nervous system depressants.

Dr. Greer found that respiratory depression induced by these agents can be reversed or prevented in test animals with an experimental AMPAKINE drug, without a reduction of pain relief or sedation.

Greer and coworkers treated rats with the opioids analgesic fentanyl or the barbiturate sedative Phenobarbital, both commonly prescribed in the United States. Greer used a technique known as plethysmography, which measures blood flow throughout
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Contact: Mark Varney
mvarney@cortexpharm.com
949-231-0672
Cortex Pharmaceuticals
4-Jun-2007


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