Synapses are broken down in the long-term Benzodiazipine use

Synapses are broken down in the long-term Benzodiazipine use ...

Benzodiazepines are effective and widely used drugs for treating anxiety and sleep disorders. Short-term therapies are considered safe, but their long-term intake may lead to physical dependence and, particularly in older people, cognitive impairments. In an animal model, scientists demonstrated that the active ingredient causes brain loss.

Microglia, the brain''s immune cells, are involved in determining the appropriate protein, the translocator protein (TSPO), on the surface of cell organelles of the microglia. This binding activates the microglia, which then degrade and recycles synapses that are, the connections between nerve cells. Experiments conducted by the researchers showed that the synapse loss in mice that had received a daily sleep-inducing dose of the benzodiazepine diazep

Microglia plays an important role in reducing synapses during brain development and in neurodegenerative diseases, according to Dr. Yuan Shi and Mochen Cui, co-authors. What really surprised us was that such well-researched drugs as benzodiazepines influence this process. When diazepam therapy was discontinued, the effect persisted for some time, but was eventually reversible.

According to the authors, the study might have implications on how sleep disorders and anxiety are treated in people at risk of dementia. Drugs that are known to have no binding affinity to TSPO should be preferred wherever possible.

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