Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease manifest with the neuronal accumulation of toxic proteins. Autophagy upregulation enhances the clearance of such proteins and ameliorates their toxicities in animal models,.
In this article (Nature Communicationsvolume 10, Article number: 1817 (2019)) the authors report that felodipine, an L-type calcium channel blocker and anti-hypertensive drug, induces autophagy and clears diverse aggregate-prone, neurodegenerative disease-associated proteins. Felodipine can clear mutant α-synuclein in mouse brains at plasma concentrations similar to those that would be seen in humans taking the drug. This is associated with neuroprotection in mice, suggesting the promise of this compound for use in neurodegeneration.