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Daffodils may yield drugs

Monday June 25th, 2012

Scientists are hoping to find drugs for treating depression in a kind of pink daffodil that grows in South Africa.

The Danish researchers have now found that compounds in the plant can penetrate the brain, suggesting they could form the basis of drugs for brain disease.

They have already shown that the plants contain substances that might have an effect on mechanisms underlying depression.

The latest findings, reported in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, offer hope that the plants may yield up chemicals with a direct impact on depression.

The findings come from laboratory studies and will need much further research before treatments are ready to be tested. They show that the compounds can cross the so-called blood-brain barrier, meaning that they could get into the brain through the blood vessels that feed it.

Researcher Birger Brodin said: "Several of our plant compounds can probably be smuggled past the brain's effective barrier proteins. We examined various compounds for their influence on the transporter proteins in the brain.

"Our results are promising, and several of the chemical compounds studied should therefore be tested further, as candidates for long-term drug development.

"This is the first stage of a lengthy process, so it will take some time before we can determine which of the plant compounds can be used in further drug development."

The Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology June 4 2012; doi:10.1111/j.2042-7158.2012.01536.x

Tags: Africa | Alternative Therapy | Europe | Mental Health | Pharmaceuticals

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