The Leukotriene Receptor Antagonist Montelukast Reduces Alpha-Synuclein Load and Restores Memory in an Animal Model of Dementia with Lewy Bodies

Neurotherapeutics. 2020 Jul;17(3):1061-1074. doi: 10.1007/s13311-020-00836-3.


Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) represents a huge medical need as it accounts for up to 30% of all dementia cases, and there is no cure available. The underyling spectrum of pathology is complex and creates a challenge for targeted molecular therapies. We here tested the hypothesis that leukotrienes are involved in the pathology of DLB and that blocking leukotrienes through Montelukast, a leukotriene receptor antagonist and approved anti-asthmatic drug, might alleviate pathology and restore cognitive functions. Expression of 5-lipoxygenase, the rate-limiting enzyme for leukotriene production, was indeed elevated in brains with DLB. Treatment of cognitively deficient human alpha-synuclein overexpressing transgenic mice with Montelukast restored memory. Montelukast treatment resulted in modulation of beclin-1 expression, a marker for autophagy, and in a reduction in the human alpha-synulcein load in the transgenic mice. Reducing the protein aggregation load in neurodegenerative diseases might be a novel model of action of Montelukast. Moreover, this work presents leukotriene signaling as a potential drug target for DLB and shows that Montelukast might be a promising drug candidate for future DLB therapy development.

Keywords: Leukotrienes; Montelukast; alpha-synulcein; autophagy; cognition; dementia; neuroinflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't