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- Glossary

agonist: an agonist is a type of ligand that binds to a receptor and alters the activity of the receptor and its host cell.

amyloid beta: a peptide that appears to be the main constituent of the plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients, constituting the basis of the amyloid hypothesis.

antagonist: a type of ligand that does not provoke a biological response itself upon binding to a receptor, but prevents agonists from binding to the receptor.

anti-convulsants: a diverse group of pharmaceuticals used in the treatment of epileptic seizures. anti-convulsants are also increasingly being used in the treatment of bipolar disorder, since many seem to act as mood stabilizers. The goal of an anti-convulsant is to suppress the rapid and excessive firing of neurons that start a seizure. Because of this, anti-convulsants also have proven effective in treating many kinds of dysfunctional anxiety.

anxiolytic: a drug prescribed for the treatment of symptoms of anxiety.

apoptosis: one of the main types of programmed cell death, in which the cell is broken down in a regulated process and the resulting debris disposed of.

cytostatic: inhibiting or suppressing cellular growth and multiplication.

cytotoxicity: the quality of being toxic to cells (used in the context of cancer therapies).

DALYs: Disability Adjusted Life Years. The sum of years of potential life lost due to premature mortality and the years of productive life lost due to disability.

dementia: a non-specific illness syndrome (set of signs and symptoms) in which affected areas of cognition may be memory, attention, language, and problem solving. It is normally required to be present for at least 6 months to be diagnosed; cognitive dysfunction that has been seen only over shorter times, in particular less than weeks must be termed delirium.

immune-deficient mouse model: the use of special strains of immune-deficient mice to study a human disease or condition and how to prevent and treat it.

in vitro: the technique of performing a given experiment in a controlled environment outside of a living organism, such as in a test tube or in non-living tissues.

in vivo: experimentation done in or on the living tissue of a whole, living organism.

ligand: a substance that is able to dock with a molecule receptor and to change that molecule’s behavior. Anavex’s drug candidates contain sigma ligands which dock with cells via their sigma receptors, causing the cells to alter their behavior in ways that can impact diseases.

muscarinic receptor: receptors that bind with the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

neuron: (also known as neurone or nerve cell) an electrically excitable cell that processes and transmits information by electrochemical signalling, via connections with other cells called synapses. Neurons are the core components of the nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral ganglia.

neuroprotection: the protection of neurons from apoptosis, for example following a brain injury or as a result of chronic neurological diseases.

NMDA receptor: a glutamate receptor, is the predominant molecular device for controlling synaptic plasticity and memory function. It is a specific type of ionotropic glutamate receptor. NMDA (N-methyl D-aspartate) is the name of a selective agonist that binds to NMDA receptors but not to other glutamate receptors. Its activation results in the opening of an ion channel that is nonselective to cations.

oxidative stress: Adverse effects occurring when the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in a system exceeds the system’s ability to neutralize and eliminate them; excess ROS can damage a cell’s lipids, protein or DNA.

pathogenesis: the origin and development of a disease.

ROS: Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are free radicals that contain the oxygen atom. They are very small molecules that include oxygen ions and peroxides and can be either inorganic or organic. They are highly reactive due to the presence of unpaired valence shell electrons. ROS form as a natural byproduct of the normal metabolism of oxygen and have important roles in cell signaling.

seizure: a transient symptom of excessive or synchronous neuronal activity in the brain. It can manifest as an alteration in mental state, tonic or clonic movements, convulsions, and various other psychic symptoms (such as déjà vu or jamais vu). The medical syndrome of recurrent, unprovoked seizures is termed epilepsy, but seizures can occur in people who do not have epilepsy.

sigma receptor: a protein molecule in a cell’s plasma membrane or cytoplasm which allows ligands to dock with the cell and change its behavior. The sigma receptors, of types sigma-1 and sigma-2, are receptors that bind to various sigma ligands.

sigma-1 receptor: these receptors are chaperone proteins that are found on the Endoplasmic Reticulum membrane of the cells and have been implicated in many biological phenomena, including cardiovascular function, depression and cancer.

sigma-2 receptor: activation of this kind of receptor can cause apoptosis.



Alzheimer’s Disease



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