Intranasal NAP (davunetide) decreases tau hyperphosphorylation and moderately improves behavioral deficits in mice overexpressing α-synuclein

Iddo Magen, Regina Ostritsky, Franziska Richter, Chunni Zhu, Sheila M. Fleming, Vincent Lemesre, Alistair J. Stewart, Bruce H. Morimoto, Illana Gozes*, Marie Françoise Chesselet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Genome-wide association studies have identified strong associations between the risk of developing Parkinson's disease (PD) and polymorphisms in the genes encoding α-synuclein and the microtubule-associated protein tau. However, the contribution of tau and its phosphorylated form (p-tau) to α-synuclein-induced pathology and neuronal dysfunction remains controversial. We have assessed the effects of NAP (davunetide), an eight-amino acid peptide that decreases tau hyperphosphorylation, in mice overexpressing wild-type human α-synuclein (Thy1-aSyn mice), a model that recapitulates aspects of PD. We found that the p-tau/tau level increased in a subcortical tissue block that includes the striatum and brain stem, and in the cerebellum of the Thy1-aSyn mice compared to nontransgenic controls. Intermittent intranasal NAP administration at 2 μg/mouse per day, 5 days a week, for 24 weeks, starting at 4 weeks of age, significantly decreased the ratio of p-tau/tau levels in the subcortical region while a higher dose of 15 μg/mouse per day induced a decrease in p-tau/tau levels in the cerebellum. Both NAP doses reduced hyperactivity, improved habituation to a novel environment, and reduced olfactory deficits in the Thy1-aSyn mice, but neither dose improved the severe deficits of motor coordination observed on the challenging beam and pole, contrasting with previous data obtained with continuous daily administration of the drug. The data reveal novel effects of NAP on brain p-tau/tau and behavioral outcomes in this model of synucleinopathy and suggest that sustained exposure to NAP may be necessary for maximal benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00065
JournalPharmacology Research and Perspectives
Volume2
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2014

Funding

FundersFunder number
Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research to Allon Therapeutics Inc.
National Institutes of Health
AAMN Foundation
Council for Higher Education

    Keywords

    • Aggregates
    • NAP
    • buried pellet
    • challenging beam
    • microglia
    • open field
    • pole
    • tau
    • α-synuclein

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