A neuronal microtubule-interacting agent, NAPVSIPQ, reduces tau pathology and enhances cognitive function in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease

Yasuji Matsuoka, Yan Jouroukhin, Audrey J. Gray, Li Ma, Chiho Hirata-Fukae, Hui Fang Li, Li Feng, Laurent Lecanu, Benjamin R. Walker, Emmanuel Planel, Ottavio Arancio, Illana Gozes, Paul S. Aisen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Neurofibrillary tangles composed of aggregated, hyperphosphorylated tau in an abnormal conformation represent one of the major pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other tauopathies. However, recent data suggest that the pathogenic processes leading to cognitive impairment occur before the formation of classic tangles. In the earliest stages of tauopathy, tau detaches from microtubules and accumulates in the cytosol of the somatodendritic compartment of cells. Either as a cause or an effect, tau becomes hyperphosphorylated and aggregates into paired helical filaments that comprise the tangles. To assess whether an agent that modulates microtubule function can inhibit the pathogenic process and prevent cognitive deficits in a transgenic mouse model with AD-relevant tau pathology, we administered the neuronal tubulin-preferring agent, NAPVSIPQ (NAP). Three months of treatment with NAP at an early-to-moderate stage of tauopathy reduced the levels of hyperphosphorylated soluble and insoluble tau. A 6-month course of treatment improved cognitive function. Although non-specific tubulin-interacting agents commonly used for cancer therapy are associated with adverse effects due to their antimitotic activity, no adverse effects were found after 6 months of exposure to NAP. Our results suggest that neuronal microtubule interacting agents such as NAP may be useful therapeutic agents for the treatment or prevention of tauopathies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-153
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Volume325
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2008

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