The presence of AβpE3 (N-terminal truncated Aβ starting with pyroglutamate) in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has received considerable attention since the discovery that this peptide represents a dominant fraction of Aβ peptides in senile plaques of AD brains. This was later confirmed by other reports investigating AD and Down’s syndrome postmortem brain tissue. Importantly, AβpE3 has a higher aggregation propensity, and stability, and shows an increased toxicity compared to full-length Aβ. We have recently shown that intraneuronal accumulation of AβpE3 peptides induces a severe neuron loss and an associated neurological phenotype in the TBA2 mouse model for AD. Given the increasing interest in AβpE3, we have generated two novel monoclonal antibodies which were characterized as highly specific for AβpE3 peptides and herein used to analyze plaque deposition in APP/PS1KI mice, an AD model with severe neuron loss and learning deficits. This was compared with the plaque pattern present in brain tissue from sporadic and familial AD cases. Abundant plaques positive for AβpE3 were present in patients with sporadic AD and familial AD including those carrying mutations in APP (arctic and Swedish) and PS1. Interestingly, in APP/PS1KI mice we observed a continuous increase in AβpE3 plaque load with increasing age, while the density for Aβ1-x plaques declined with aging. We therefore assume that, in particular, the peptides starting with position 1 of Aβ are N-truncated as disease progresses, and that, AβpE3 positive plaques are resistant to age-dependent degradation likely due to their high stability and propensity to aggregate.
Transgenic mice; Arctic mutation; Swedish mutation; Presenilin-1 mutation; Sporadic Alzheimer’s disease; Pyroglutamate Abeta; Biacore; Antibody specificity
N-terminal truncated amyloid beta (Aβ) derivatives, especially the forms having pyroglutamate at the 3 position (AβpE3) or at the 11 position (AβpE11) have become the topic of considerable study. AβpE3 is known to make up a substantial portion of the Aβ species in senile plaques while AβpE11 has received less attention. We have generated very specific polyclonal antibodies against both species. Each antibody recognizes only the antigen against which it was generated on Western blots and neither recognizes full length Aβ. Both anti-AβpE3 and anti-AβpE11 stain senile plaques specifically in Alzheimer’s disease cerebral cortex and colocalize with Aβ, as shown by confocal microscopy. In a majority of plaques examined, AβpE11 was observed to be the dominant form in the innermost core. These data suggest that AβpE11 may serve as a generating site for senile plaque formation.
Oligomerization, conformational changes, and the consequent neurodegeneration of Alzheimer's β-amyloid protein (AβP) play crucial roles in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Mounting evidence suggests that oligomeric AβPs cause the disruption of calcium homeostasis, eventually leading to neuronal death. We have demonstrated that oligomeric AβPs directly incorporate into neuronal membranes, form cation-sensitive ion channels (“amyloid channels”), and cause the disruption of calcium homeostasis via the amyloid channels. Other disease-related amyloidogenic proteins, such as prion protein in prion diseases or α-synuclein in dementia with Lewy bodies, exhibit similarities in the incorporation into membranes and the formation of calcium-permeable channels. Here, based on our experimental results and those of numerous other studies, we review the current understanding of the direct binding of AβP into membrane surfaces and the formation of calcium-permeable channels. The implication of composition of membrane lipids and the possible development of new drugs by influencing membrane properties and attenuating amyloid channels for the treatment and prevention of AD is also discussed.
The major amyloid beta (Aβ) peptides found in the brain of familial and late onset Alzheimer’s disease include the full-length Aβ1-42 and N-terminally truncated, pyroglutamylated peptides Aβp3-42 and Aβp11-42. The biophysical properties of Aβ1-42 have been extensively studied, yet little is known about the other modified peptides. We investigated the aggregation kinetics of brain-specific Aβ peptides to better understand their potential roles in plaque formation. Synthetic peptides were analyzed individually and in mixtures representing various ratios found in the brain. Spectrofluorometric analyses using Thioflavin-T showed that the aggregation of Aβ1-42 was faster compared to Aβp3-42; however, Aβp11-42 displayed similar kinetics. Surprisingly, mixtures of full-length Aβ1-42 and Aβp3-42 showed an initial delay in beta-sheet formation from both equimolar and non-equimolar samples. Electron microscopy of peptides individually and in mixtures further supported fluorescence data. These results indicate that Aβ-Aβ peptide interactions involving different forms may play a critical role in senile plaque formation and maintenance of the soluble Aβ pool in the brain.
Alzheimer’s disease; Amyloid-beta peptides; Aggregation; Pyroglutamate
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChRs), implicated in memory and learning, in subjects affected by Alzheimer's disease result altered. Stimulation of α7-nAChRs inhibits amyloid plaques and increases ACh release. β-amyloid peptide (AβP) forms ion channels in the cell and model phospholipid membranes that are retained responsible in Alzheimer disease. We tested if choline, precursor of ACh, could affect the AβP1-40 channels in oxidized cholesterol (OxCh) and in palmitoyl-oleoyl-phosphatidylcholine (POPC):Ch lipid bilayers.
Choline concentrations of 5 × 10−11 M–1.5 × 10−8 M added to the cis- or trans-side of membrane quickly increased AβP1-40 ion channel frequency (events/min) and ion conductance in OxCh membranes, but not in POPC:Ch membranes. Circular Dichroism (CD) spectroscopy shows that after 24 and 48 hours of incubation with AβP1-40, choline stabilizes the random coil conformation of the peptide, making it less prone to fibrillate. These actions seem to be specific in that ACh is ineffective either in solution or on AβP1-40 channel incorporated into PLMs.
The neurotoxicity of β-amyloid protein (AβP) is implicated in the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease. We previously have demonstrated that AβP forms Ca2+-permeable pores on neuronal membranes, causes a marked increase in intracellular calcium level, and leads to neuronal death. Here, we investigated in detail the features of AβP-induced changes in intracellular Ca2+ level in primary cultured rat hippocampal neurons using a multisite Ca2+-imaging system with fura-2 as a fluorescent probe. Only a small fraction of short-term cultured hippocampal neurons (ca 1 week in vitro) exhibited changes in intracellular Ca2+ level after AβP exposure. However, AβP caused an acute increase in intracellular Ca2+ level in long-term cultured neurons (ca 1 month in vitro). The responses to AβP were highly heterogeneous, and immunohistochemical analysis using an antibody to AβP revealed that AβP is deposited on some but not all neurons. Considering that the disruption of Ca2+ homeostasis is the primary event in AβP neurotoxicity, substances that protect neurons from an AβP-induced intracellular Ca2+ level increase may be candidates as therapeutic drugs for Alzheimer’s disease. In line with the search for such protective substances, we found that the preadministration of neurosteroids including dehydroepiandrosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, and pregnenolone significantly inhibits the increase in intracellular calcium level induced by AβP. Our results suggest the possible significance of neurosteroids, whose levels are reduced in the elderly, in preventing AβP neurotoxicity.
neurotoxicity; pore; calcium homeostasis; channel; aging
The aggregation of Aβ-peptide (Aβ) is widely considered to be the critical step in the pathology of Alzheimer's disease. Small, soluble Aβ oligomers have been shown to be more neurotoxic than large, insoluble aggregates and fibrils. Recent studies suggest that biometal ions, including Zn(II), may play an important role in the aggregation process. Experimentally determining the details of the binding process is complicated by the kinetic lability of zinc. To study the dynamic nature of the zinc-bound Aβ complexes and the potential mechanisms by which Zn(II) affects Aβ oligomerization we have performed atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of Zn(Aβ) and Zn(Aβ)2. The models were based on NMR data and predicted coordination environments from previous density functional theory calculations. When modeled as 4-coordinate covalently bound Zn(Aβ)n complexes (where n = 1 or 2), zinc imposes conformational changes in the surrounding Aβ residues. Moreover, zinc reduces the helix content and increases the random coil content of the full peptide. Although zinc binds at the N-terminus of Aβ, β-sheet formation is observed exclusively at the C-terminus in the Zn(Aβ) and most of the Zn(Aβ)2 complexes. Furthermore, initial binding to zinc promotes the formation of intra-chain salt-bridges, while subsequent dissociation promotes the formation of inter-chain salt-bridges. These results suggest that Zn-binding to Aβ accelerates the aggregation of Aβ by unfolding the helical structure in Aβ peptide and stabilizing the formation of vital salt-bridges within and between Aβ peptides.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by progressive dementia and brain deposits of the amyloid β protein (Aβ) as senile plaques and the microtubule-associated protein, Tau, as neurofibrillary tangles (NFT). The current treatment of AD is limited to drugs that attempt to correct deficits in the cholinergic pathway or glutamate toxicity. These drugs show some improvement over a short period of time but the disease ultimately requires treatment to prevent and stop the neurodegeneration that affects multiple pathways. The currently favored hypothesis is that Aβ aggregates to toxic forms that induce neurodegeneration. Drugs that reduce Aβ successfully treat transgenic mouse models of AD, but the most promising anti-Aβ vaccination approach did not successfully treat AD in a clinical trial. These studies suggest that AD pathogenesis is a complex phenomenon and requires a more broad-based approach to identify mechanisms of neurodegeneration. Multiple hypotheses have been proposed and the field is ready for a new generation of ideas to develop early diagnostic approaches and develop successful treatment plans.
Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid; neurofibrillary tangles; protein turnover; secretases; neurodegeneration
Amyloid-like plaques are characteristic lesions defining the neuropathology of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The size and density of these plaques are closely associated with cognitive decline. To combat this disease, the few therapies that are available rely on drugs that increase neurotransmission; however, this approach has had limited success as it has simply slowed an imminent decline and failed to target the root cause of AD. Amyloid-like deposits result from aggregation of the Aβ peptide, and thus, reducing amyloid burden by preventing Aβ aggregation represents an attractive approach to improve the therapeutic arsenal for AD. Recent studies have shown that the natural product curcumin is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier in the CNS in sufficient quantities so as to reduce amyloid plaque burden. Based upon this bioactivity, we hypothesized that curcumin presents molecular features that make it an excellent lead compound for the development of more effective inhibitors of Aβ aggregation. To explore this hypothesis, we screened a library of curcumin analogs and identified structural features that contribute to the anti-oligomerization activity of curcumin and its analogs. First, at least one enone group in the spacer between aryl rings is necessary for measureable anti-Aβ aggregation activity. Second, an unsaturated carbon spacer between aryl rings is essential for inhibitory activity, as none of the saturated carbon spacers showed any margin of improvement over that of native curcumin. Third, methoxyl and hydroxyl substitutions in the meta- and para-positions on the aryl rings appear necessary for some measure of improved inhibitory activity. The best lead inhibitors have either their meta- and para-substituted methoxyl and hydroxyl groups reversed from that of curcumin or methoxyl or hydroxyl groups placed in both positions. The simple substitution of the para-hydroxy group on curcumin with a methoxy substitution improved inhibitor function by 6-7-fold over that measured for curcumin.
Experiments in silico using stochastic reaction-diffusion models have emerged as an important tool in molecular systems biology. Designing computational software for such applications poses several challenges. Firstly, realistic lattice-based modeling for biological applications requires a consistent way of handling complex geometries, including curved inner- and outer boundaries. Secondly, spatiotemporal stochastic simulations are computationally expensive due to the fast time scales of individual reaction- and diffusion events when compared to the biological phenomena of actual interest. We therefore argue that simulation software needs to be both computationally efficient, employing sophisticated algorithms, yet in the same time flexible in order to meet present and future needs of increasingly complex biological modeling.
We have developed URDME, a flexible software framework for general stochastic reaction-transport modeling and simulation. URDME uses Unstructured triangular and tetrahedral meshes to resolve general geometries, and relies on the Reaction-Diffusion Master Equation formalism to model the processes under study. An interface to a mature geometry and mesh handling external software (Comsol Multiphysics) provides for a stable and interactive environment for model construction. The core simulation routines are logically separated from the model building interface and written in a low-level language for computational efficiency. The connection to the geometry handling software is realized via a Matlab interface which facilitates script computing, data management, and post-processing. For practitioners, the software therefore behaves much as an interactive Matlab toolbox. At the same time, it is possible to modify and extend URDME with newly developed simulation routines. Since the overall design effectively hides the complexity of managing the geometry and meshes, this means that newly developed methods may be tested in a realistic setting already at an early stage of development.
In this paper we demonstrate, in a series of examples with high relevance to the molecular systems biology community, that the proposed software framework is a useful tool for both practitioners and developers of spatial stochastic simulation algorithms. Through the combined efforts of algorithm development and improved modeling accuracy, increasingly complex biological models become feasible to study through computational methods. URDME is freely available at http://www.urdme.org.
Efforts to discover new drugs for Alzheimer’s disease emphasizing multiple targets was conducted seeking to inhibit amyloid oligomer formation and to prevent radical formation. The tryptoline and tryptamine cores of BACE1 inhibitors previously identified by virtual screening were modified in silico for additional modes of action. These core structures were readily linked to different side chains using 1,2,3-triazole rings as bridges by copper catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition reactions. Three compounds among the sixteen designed compounds exerted multifunctional activities including β-secretase inhibitory action, anti-amyloid aggregation, metal chelating and antioxidant effects at micromolar levels. The neuroprotective effects of the multifunctional compounds 6h, 12c and 12h on Aβ1–42 induced neuronal cell death at 1 μM were significantly greater than those of the potent single target compound, BACE1 inhibitor IV and were comparable to curcumin. The observed synergistic effect resulting from the reduction of the Aβ1–42 neurotoxicity cascade substantiates the validity of our multifunctional strategy in drug discovery for Alzheimer’s disease.
multifunction drugs; BACE1 inhibitor; anti-amyloid aggregation; chelator; antioxidant; neuroprotection
It has recently been determined that not only Aβ oligomers, but also other Aβ species and amyloidogenic peptides are neurotoxic in Alzheimer disease (AD) and play a pivotal role in AD pathogenesis. In the present study, we attempted to develop new DNA vaccines targeting a wide range of Aβ species. For this purpose, we first performed in vitro assays with newly developed vaccines to evaluate Aβ production and Aβ secretion abilities and then chose an IgL-Aβx4-Fc-IL-4 vaccine (designated YM3711) for further studies. YM3711 was vaccinated to mice, rabbits and monkeys to evaluate anti-Aβ species antibody-producing ability and Aβ reduction effects. It was found that YM3711 vaccination induced significantly higher levels of antibodies not only to Aβ1-42 but also to AD-related molecules including AβpE3-42, Aβ oligomers and Aβ fibrils. Importantly, YM3711 significantly reduced these Aβ species in the brain of model mice. Binding and competition assays using translated YM3711 protein products clearly demonstrated that a large part of antibodies induced by YM3711 vaccination are directed at conformational epitopes of the Aβ complex and oligomers. Taken together, we demonstrate that YM3711 is a powerful DNA vaccine targeting a wide range of AD-related molecules and is worth examining in preclinical and clinical trials.
Protein aggregation into amyloid fibrils and protofibrillar aggregates is associated with a number of the most common neurodegenerative diseases. We have established, using a computational approach, that knowledge of the primary sequences of proteins is sufficient to predict their in vitro aggregation propensities. Here we demonstrate, using rational mutagenesis of the Aβ42 peptide based on such computational predictions of aggregation propensity, the existence of a strong correlation between the propensity of Aβ42 to form protofibrils and its effect on neuronal dysfunction and degeneration in a Drosophila model of Alzheimer disease. Our findings provide a quantitative description of the molecular basis for the pathogenicity of Aβ and link directly and systematically the intrinsic properties of biomolecules, predicted in silico and confirmed in vitro, to pathogenic events taking place in a living organism.
A wide range of diseases, including diabetes and common brain diseases of old age, are characterised by the deposition of protein in the affected tissues. Alzheimer disease, the most common neurodegenerative disorder, is caused by the aggregation and deposition of a peptide called Aβ in the brain. We have previously developed a computational procedure that predicts a particular peptide or protein's speed of aggregation in the test tube. Our goal was to test whether the speed of aggregate formation that we observe in the test tube is directly linked to the brain toxicity that we see in our fruit fly model of Alzheimer disease. We made flies that produce each of 17 variant forms of Aβ and show that the toxicity of each variant is closely linked to the tendency of each variant to form small soluble aggregates. Our computational procedure has previously been shown to be applicable to a wide range of different proteins and diseases, and so this demonstration that it can predict toxicity in an animal model system has implications for many areas of disease-related research.
A systematic analysis of Alzheimer disease amyloid β peptide variants inDrosophila brain demonstrates that their predicted propensity to form protofibrillar aggregates correlates best with toxicity.
The physics of mass transport within body compartments and across biological barriers differentiates cancers from healthy tissues. Variants of nanoparticles can be manufactured in combinatorially large sets, varying only one transport-affecting design parameter at a time. Nanoparticles can also be used as building blocks for systems that perform sequences of coordinated actions, in accordance to a prescribed logic. These are referred to as Logic-Embedded Vectors “(LEV)” in the following. Nanoparticles and LEVs are ideal probes for the determination of mass transport laws in tumors, acting as imaging contrast enhancers, and can be employed for the lesion-selective delivery of therapy. Their size, shape, density and surface chemistry dominate convective transport in the blood stream, margination, cell adhesion, selective cellular uptake, as well as sub-cellular trafficking and localization. As argued here, the understanding of transport differentials in cancer, termed ‘transport oncophysics’ unveils a new promising frontier in oncology: the development of lesion-specific delivery particulates that exploit mass transport differentials to deploy treatment of greater efficacy and reduced side effects.
The field of neural repair in stroke has identified cellular systems of reorganization and possible molecular mechanisms. Conceptual barriers now limit the generation of clinically useful agents. First, it is not clear what the causal mechanisms of neural repair are in stroke. Second, adequate delivery systems for neural repair drugs need to be determined for candidate molecules. Third, ad hoc applications of existing pharmacological agents that enhance attention, mood or arousal to stroke have failed. New approaches that specifically harness the molecular systems of learning and memory provide a new avenue for stroke repair drugs. Fourth, combinatorial treatments for neural repair need to be considered for clinical therapies. Finally, neural repair therapies have as a goal altering brain connections, cognitive maps and active neural networks. These actions may trigger a unique set of “neural repair side effects” that need to be considered in planning clinical trials.
Stroke; axonal sprouting; stem cell; brain map; cortex; regeneration; translational; clinical trial
The rational design of amyloid oligomer inhibitors is yet an unmet drug development need. Previous studies have identified the role of tryptophan in amyloid recognition, association and inhibition. Furthermore, tryptophan was ranked as the residue with highest amyloidogenic propensity. Other studies have demonstrated that quinones, specifically anthraquinones, can serve as aggregation inhibitors probably due to the dipole interaction of the quinonic ring with aromatic recognition sites within the amyloidogenic proteins. Here, using in vitro, in vivo and in silico tools we describe the synthesis and functional characterization of a rationally designed inhibitor of the Alzheimer's disease-associated β-amyloid. This compound, 1,4-naphthoquinon-2-yl-L-tryptophan (NQTrp), combines the recognition capacities of both quinone and tryptophan moieties and completely inhibited Aβ oligomerization and fibrillization, as well as the cytotoxic effect of Aβ oligomers towards cultured neuronal cell line. Furthermore, when fed to transgenic Alzheimer's disease Drosophila model it prolonged their life span and completely abolished their defective locomotion. Analysis of the brains of these flies showed a significant reduction in oligomeric species of Aβ while immuno-staining of the 3rd instar larval brains showed a significant reduction in Aβ accumulation. Computational studies, as well as NMR and CD spectroscopy provide mechanistic insight into the activity of the compound which is most likely mediated by clamping of the aromatic recognition interface in the central segment of Aβ. Our results demonstrate that interfering with the aromatic core of amyloidogenic peptides is a promising approach for inhibiting various pathogenic species associated with amyloidogenic diseases. The compound NQTrp can serve as a lead for developing a new class of disease modifying drugs for Alzheimer's disease.
To determine the possible interaction of curcumin with P-glycoprotein (P-gp) expression and function by in vitro and in silico studies.
Materials and Methods:
In this study, curcumin was compared for its potential to modulate the expression and function of P-gp in Y79 RB cells by western blot, RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) and functional assay. Further, in silico molecular modeling and docking simulations were performed to deduce the inhibitory binding mode of curcumin.
Western blot and RT-PCR analysis decreased the expression of P-gp in a dose-dependent manner. The effect of curcumin on P-gp function was demonstrated by Rhodamine 123 (Rh123) accumulation and efflux study. Curcumin increased the accumulation of Rh123 and decreased its efflux in retinoblastoma (RB) cells. In addition, curcumin inhibited verapamil stimulated ATPase activity and photoaffinity labeling study showed no effect on the binding of 8-azido-ATP-biotin, indicating its interaction at the substrate binding site. Moreover, molecular docking studies concurrently infer the binding of curcumin into the substrate binding site of P-gp with a binding energy of -7.66 kcal/mol.
These findings indicate that curcumin suppresses the MDR1 expression and function, and therefore may be useful as modulators of multidrug resistance in RB tumor.
Multidrug resistance; p-glycoprotein; retinoblastoma; Y79
The proteolytic processing of amyloid precursor protein (APP) to produce Aβ peptides is thought to play an important role in the mechanism of Alzheimer’s Disease. Here we show that lysines 587 and 595 of APP, which are immediately adjacent to the site of β-secretase cleavage, are covalently modified by SUMO proteins in vivo. Sumoylation of these lysine residues is associated with decreased levels of Aβ aggregates. Further, overexpression of the SUMO E2 enzyme ubc9 along with SUMO-1 results in decreased levels of Aβ aggregates in cells transfected with the familial Alzheimer’s disease-associated V642F mutant APP, indicating the potential of up-regulating activity of the cellular sumoylation machinery as an approach against Alzheimer’s Disease. The results also provide the first demonstration that the SUMO E2 enzyme (ubc9) is present within the endoplasmic reticulum, indicating how APP, and perhaps other proteins that enter this compartment, can be sumoylated.
APP; SUMO-1; SUMO-2; ubc9
Photosensitizers (PSs) have shown great potentials as molecular contrast agents in photodynamic diagnosis (PDD) of cancer. While the diagnostic values of PSs have been proven previously, little efforts have been put into developing optical imaging and diagnostic algorithms. In this article, we review the recent development of optical probes that have been used in conjunction with a potent PS, hypericin (HY). Various fluorescence techniques such as laser confocal microscopy, fluorescence urine cytology, endoscopy and endomicroscopy are covered. We will also discuss about image processing and classification approaches employed for accurate PDD. We anticipate that continual efforts in these developments could lead to an objective PDD and complete surgical clearance of tumors. Recent advancements in nanotechnology have also opened new horizons for PSs. The use of biocompatible gold nanoparticles as carrier for enhanced targeted delivery of HY has been attained. In addition, plasmonic properties of nanoparticles were harnessed to induce localized hyperthermia and to manage the release of PS molecules, enabling a better therapeutic outcome of a combined photodynamic and photothermal therapy. Finally, we discuss how nanoparticles can be used as contrast agents for other optical techniques such as optical coherence tomography and surface-enhanced Raman scattering imaging.
Hypericin; Photodynamic diagnosis; Fluorescence; Endoscopy; Urine cytology; Endomicroscopy; Gold nanoparticle; Photothermal therapy
Misfolding and aggregation of proteins into ordered fibrillar structures is associated with a number of severe pathologies, including Alzheimer's disease, prion diseases, and type II diabetes. The rapid accumulation of knowledge about the sequences and structures of these proteins allows using of in silico methods to investigate the molecular mechanisms of their abnormal conformational changes and assembly. However, such an approach requires the collection of accurate data, which are inconveniently dispersed among several generalist databases.
We therefore created a free online knowledge database (AMYPdb) dedicated to amyloid precursor proteins and we have performed large scale sequence analysis of the included data. Currently, AMYPdb integrates data on 31 families, including 1,705 proteins from nearly 600 organisms. It displays links to more than 2,300 bibliographic references and 1,200 3D-structures. A Wiki system is available to insert data into the database, providing a sharing and collaboration environment. We generated and analyzed 3,621 amino acid sequence patterns, reporting highly specific patterns for each amyloid family, along with patterns likely to be involved in protein misfolding and aggregation.
AMYPdb is a comprehensive online database aiming at the centralization of bioinformatic data regarding all amyloid proteins and their precursors. Our sequence pattern discovery and analysis approach unveiled protein regions of significant interest. AMYPdb is freely accessible .
The synthesis of a water/plasma soluble, noncytotoxic,
sugar-derivative of curcumin with amplified bioefficacy in modulating
amyloid-β and tau peptide aggregation is presented. Curcumin
inhibits amyloid-β and tau peptide aggregation at micromolar
concentrations; the sugar–curcumin conjugate inhibits Aβ
and tau peptide aggregation at concentrations as low as 8 nM and 0.1
nM, respectively. In comparison to curcumin, this conveniently synthesized
Alzheimer’s drug candidate is a more powerful antioxidant.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD); amyloid-β; tau peptide; curcumin; “click”
reaction; antioxidant potential
Neurodegenerative diseases result in the loss of functional neurons and synapses. Although future stem cell therapies offer some hope, current treatments for most of these diseases are less than adequate and our best hope is to prevent these devastating diseases. Neuroprotective approaches work best prior to the initiation of damage, suggesting that some safe and effective prophylaxis would be highly desirable. Curcumin has an outstanding safety profile and a number of pleiotropic actions with potential for neuroprotective efficacy, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-protein-aggregate activities. These can be achieved at sub-micromolar levels. Curcumin’s dose–response curves are strongly dose dependent and often biphasic so that in vitro data need to be cautiously interpreted; many effects might not be achievable in target tissues in vivo with oral dosing. However, despite concerns about poor oral bioavailability, curcumin has at least 10 known neuroprotective actions and many of these might be realized in vivo. Indeed, accumulating cell culture and animal model data show that dietary curcumin is a strong candidate for use in the prevention or treatment of major disabling age-related neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke. Promising results have already led to ongoing pilot clinical trials.
Small molecules with antioxidative properties have been implicated in amyloid disorders. Curcumin is the active ingredient present in turmeric and known for several biological and medicinal effects. Adequate evidence substantiates the importance of curcumin in Alzheimer's disease and recent evidence suggests its role in Prion and Parkinson's disease. However, contradictory effects have been suggested for Huntington's disease. This difference provided a compelling reason to investigate the effect of curcumin on glutamine-rich (Q-rich) and non-glutamine-rich (non Q-rich) amyloid aggregates in the well established yeast model system. Curcumin significantly inhibited the formation of htt72Q-GFP (a Q-rich) and Het-s-GFP (a non Q-rich) aggregates in yeast. We show that curcumin prevents htt72Q-GFP aggregation by down regulating Vps36, a component of the ESCRT-II (Endosomal sorting complex required for transport). Moreover, curcumin disrupted the htt72Q-GFP aggregates that were pre-formed in yeast and cured the yeast prion, [PSI+].
Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is the major active ingredient of turmeric (curcuma longa) used in South Asian cuisine for centuries. Curcumin has been shown to inhibit the growth of transformed cells and to have a number of potential molecular targets. However, the essential molecular targets of curcumin under physiological conditions have not been completely defined. Herein, we report that the tumor cellular proteasome is most likely an important target of curcumin. Nucleophilic susceptibility and in silico docking studies show that both carbonyl carbons of the curcumin molecule are highly susceptible to a nucleophilic attack by the hydroxyl group of the N-terminal threonine of the proteasomal chymotrypsin-like subunit. Consistently, curcumin potently inhibits the chymotrypsin-like activity of a purified rabbit 20S proteasome (IC50=1.85 µM) and cellular 26S proteasome. Furthermore, inhibition of proteasome activity by curcumin in human colon cancer HCT-116 and SW480 cell lines leads to accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins and several proteasome target proteins, and subsequent induction of apoptosis. Furthermore, treatment of HCT-116 colon tumor–bearing ICR SCID mice with curcumin resulted in decreased tumor growth, associated with proteasome inhibition, proliferation suppression and apoptosis induction in tumor tissues. Our study demonstrates that proteasome inhibition could be one of the mechanisms for the chemopreventive and/or therapaeutic roles of curcumin in human colon cancer. Based on its ability to inhibit the proteasome and induce apoptosis in both HCT-116 and metastatic SW480 colon cancer cell lines, our study suggests that curcumin could potentially be used for treatment of both early stage and late stage/refractory colon cancer.
Curcumin; polyphenols; proteasome inhibitors; colon cancer; apoptosis
Curcumin is a polyphenolic compound derived from the plant Curcuma Long Lin that has been demonstrated to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects as well as effects on reducing beta-amyloid aggregation. It reduces pathology in transgenic models of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and is a promising candidate for treating human AD. The purpose of the current study is to generate tolerability and preliminary clinical and biomarker efficacy data on curcumin in persons with AD.
We performed a 24-week randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study of Curcumin C3 Complex® with an open-label extension to 48 weeks. Thirty-six persons with mild-to-moderate AD were randomized to receive placebo, 2 grams/day, or 4 grams/day of oral curcumin for 24 weeks. For weeks 24 through 48, subjects that were receiving curcumin continued with the same dose, while subjects previously receiving placebo were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to 2 grams/day or 4 grams/day. The primary outcome measures were incidence of adverse events, changes in clinical laboratory tests and the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale - Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-Cog) at 24 weeks in those completing the study. Secondary outcome measures included the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study - Activities of Daily Living (ADCS-ADL) scale, levels of Aβ1-40 and Aβ1-42 in plasma and levels of Aβ1-42, t-tau, p-tau181 and F2-isoprostanes in cerebrospinal fluid. Plasma levels of curcumin and its metabolites up to four hours after drug administration were also measured.
Mean age of completers (n = 30) was 73.5 years and mean Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE) score was 22.5. One subject withdrew in the placebo (8%, worsened memory) and 5/24 subjects withdrew in the curcumin group (21%, 3 due to gastrointestinal symptoms). Curcumin C3 Complex® was associated with lowered hematocrit and increased glucose levels that were clinically insignificant. There were no differences between treatment groups in clinical or biomarker efficacy measures. The levels of native curcumin measured in plasma were low (7.32 ng/mL).
Curcumin was generally well-tolerated although three subjects on curcumin withdrew due to gastrointestinal symptoms. We were unable to demonstrate clinical or biochemical evidence of efficacy of Curcumin C3 Complex® in AD in this 24-week placebo-controlled trial although preliminary data suggest limited bioavailability of this compound.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00099710.