Protective and reversal actions of a novel peptidomimetic against a pivotal toxin implicated in Alzheimer’s disease by G. Ferrati, G. Bion, A. Harris and S. Greenfield
Despite the many attempts to understand the aetiology of Alzheimer’s disease, the basic mechanisms accounting for the progressive cycle of neuronal loss are still unknown. Previous work has suggested that the pivotal molecule mediating neurodegeneration could be an independently acting peptide cleaved from acetylcholinesterase. This previously unidentified agent acts as a signalling molecule in selectively vulnerable groups of cells where erstwhile developmental mechanisms are activated inappropriately to have a toxic effect in the context of the mature brain. We have previously shown that the toxic actions of this peptide, whose level is doubled in the Alzheimer brain, can be blocked by a cyclised variant (NBP14). However, the size and properties of NBP14 would render it unlikely as a feasible therapeutic candidate. Here therefore we test a synthetic peptidomimetic (NB-0193), modelled on the binding of NBP14 to the target alpha-7 nicotinic receptor, and benchmarked against it to screen for reversal effects using real-time optical imaging in rat brain slices. The blocking action of NB-0193 was confirmed by testing its effect against peptide-induced calcium influx in cell cultures, where it showed a dose-dependent profile over a trophic-toxic range. Moreover, NB-0193 presented promising pharmacokinetic characteristics and could therefore prompt a new therapeutic approach against Alzheimer’s disease.
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