Author(s): Faden AI, Knoblach SM, Movsesyan VA, Cernak I, Faden AI, Knoblach SM, Movsesyan VA, Cernak I
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Abstract The tripeptide thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) and/or related analogues have shown neuroprotective activity across multiple animal trauma models as well as in a small clinical trial of spinal cord injury. The metabolic product of TRH (cyclo-his-pro) retains physiological activity. We have developed a number of novel cyclic dipeptides that are structurally similar to cyclo-his-pro, and have examined their neuroprotective activity across multiple in vitro models of neuronal injury and after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in rodents. Four such compounds were found to reduce cell death after trophic withdrawal or traumatic injury in primary neuronal cultures; two also protected against glutamate or beta-amyloid neurotoxicity. All compounds significantly improved motor and cognitive recovery after controlled cortical impact injury in mice, and markedly reduced lesion volumes as shown by high field magnetic resonance imaging. Further, compound 35b, which is being developed for clinical trials, also showed considerable neuroprotection after fluid percussion induced TBI in rats, and improved cognitive function after daily administration in chronically brain injured rats. At a mechanistic level, the drugs attenuate both apoptotic and necrotic cell death in primary neuronal cultures, markedly reduce intracellular calcium accumulation after injury, and limit changes in mitochondrial membrane potential and associated cytochrome c release. In addition, microarray studies show that 35b reduces transcriptional changes after injury for a number of genes (and proteins) that may be associated with secondary injury, including cell cycle genes, aquaporins and cathepsins. It also upregulates brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), heat shock proteins (HSP) and hypoxia inducible factor (HIF). Thus, these novel dipeptides have multipotential actions that make them candidates for the treatment of both acute and chronic neurodegeneration.
This article was published in J Alzheimers Dis
and referenced in Journal of Drug Metabolism & Toxicology