Efficacy of Riluzole in Hereditary Cerebellar Ataxia

19:27 EDT 1st September 2014 | BioPortfolio

Summary

The hereditary cerebellar ataxias include diverse neurodegenerative disorders. Hereditary ataxias can be divided into autosomal dominant ataxias (ADCAs), autosomal recessive ataxias (ARCAs), X-linked, and mitochondrial ataxias on the basis of mode of inheritance. The key feature in all these disorders is ataxia typically characterised by poor balance, hand incoordination, postural or kinetic tremor, dysarthria and dysphagia.

To date no treatment has been shown to slow progression of the disease and symptomatic therapies are limited to few options that are partially effective.

Purkinje cells project inhibitory signals to the deep cerebellar nuclei(DCN) which have a critical role in cerebellar function and motor performance. DCN neurons fire spontaneously in the absence of synaptic input from Purkinje neurons and modulation of the DCN response by Purkinje input is believed to be responsible for coordination of movement, while uncontrolled spontaneous firing of DCN neurons may underlay cerebellar ataxia. Recent studies have demonstrated that small-conductance calcium-activated potassium (SK) channels inhibitor are able to increase DCN firing rate. Since SK channels are critical regulators of DCN firing rate, SK openers such as the drug riluzole may reduce neuronal hyperexcitability and thereby be useful in the therapy of cerebellar ataxia.

On this base the investigators published a pilot study in patients with chronic cerebellar ataxia (Ristori et al., Neurology 2010) investigating safety and efficacy of riluzole or placebo administration for 8 weeks. The results demonstrated a significative improvement in International Cooperative Ataxia Rating Scale (ICARS) global score after four weeks and after 8 weeks in the riluzole arm.

The present protocol is aimed at verifying the safety and efficacy of riluzole administration for a longer period, in a larger sample size of patients, with more stringent diagnostic criteria (hereditary cerebellar ataxia), respect to the above pilot study. Sixty patients will be enrolled in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. By central randomisation, patients will take 50 mg of riluzole or placebo twice daily for 12 months. Treatment effects will be assessed by comparing the ICARS and Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia (SARA) before treatment and during therapy at months 3, 6, 9 ,12.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Placebo Control, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Investigator), Primary Purpose: Treatment

Conditions

Cerebellar Ataxia

Intervention

riluzole, Placebo comparator

Location

Center for Experimental Neurological Therapies (CENTERS), S. Andrea Hospital, II Faculty of Medicine, "Sapienza" University of R
Rome
Italy
00139

Status

Recruiting

Source

S. Andrea Hospital

Results (where available)

View Results

Links

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Incoordination of voluntary movements that occur as a manifestation of CEREBELLAR DISEASES. Characteristic features include a tendency for limb movements to overshoot or undershoot a target (dysmetria), a tremor that occurs during attempted movements (intention TREMOR), impaired force and rhythm of diadochokinesis (rapidly alternating movements), and GAIT ATAXIA. (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p90)

Diseases that affect the structure or function of the cerebellum. Cardinal manifestations of cerebellar dysfunction include dysmetria, GAIT ATAXIA, and MUSCLE HYPOTONIA.

Primary or metastatic neoplasms of the CEREBELLUM. Tumors in this location frequently present with ATAXIA or signs of INTRACRANIAL HYPERTENSION due to obstruction of the fourth ventricle. Common primary cerebellar tumors include fibrillary ASTROCYTOMA and cerebellar HEMANGIOBLASTOMA. The cerebellum is a relatively common site for tumor metastases from the lung, breast, and other distant organs. (From Okazaki & Scheithauer, Atlas of Neuropathology, 1988, p86 and p141)

Impairment of the ability to perform smoothly coordinated voluntary movements. This condition may affect the limbs, trunk, eyes, pharynx, larynx, and other structures. Ataxia may result from impaired sensory or motor function. Sensory ataxia may result from posterior column injury or PERIPHERAL NERVE DISEASES. Motor ataxia may be associated with CEREBELLAR DISEASES; CEREBRAL CORTEX diseases; THALAMIC DISEASES; BASAL GANGLIA DISEASES; injury to the RED NUCLEUS; and other conditions.

Cerebellar degeneration associated with a remote neoplasm. Clinical manifestations include progressive limb and GAIT ATAXIA; DYSARTHRIA; and NYSTAGMUS, PATHOLOGIC. The histologic type of the associated neoplasm is usually carcinoma or lymphoma. Pathologically the cerebellar cortex and subcortical nuclei demonstrate diffuse degenerative changes. Anti-Purkinje cell antibodies (anti-Yo) are found in the serum of approximately 50% of affected individuals. (Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p686)

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