NAP (davunetide) is a novel neuroprotective compound with mechanism of action that appears to involve microtubule (MT) stabilization and repair. To evaluate, for the first time, the impact of NAP on axonal transport in vivo and to translate it to neuroprotection in a severe neurodegeneration, the SOD1-G93A mouse model for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) was used. Manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), estimating axonal transport rates, revealed a significant reduction of the anterograde axonal transport in the ALS mice compared to healthy control mice. Acute NAP treatment normalized axonal transport rates in these ALS mice. Tau hyperphosphorylation, associated with MT dysfunction and defective axonal transport, was discovered in the brains of the ALS mice and was significantly reduced by chronic NAP treatment. Furthermore, in healthy wild type (WT) mice, NAP reversed axonal transport disruption by colchicine, suggesting drug-dependent protection against axonal transport impairment through stabilization of the neuronal MT network. Histochemical analysis showed that chronic NAP treatment significantly protected spinal cord motor neurons against ALS-like pathology. Sequential MRI measurements, correlating brain structure with ALS disease progression, revealed a significant damage to the ventral tegmental area (VTA), indicative of impairments to the dopaminergic pathways relative to healthy controls. Chronic daily NAP treatment of the SOD1-G93A mice, initiated close to disease onset, delayed degeneration of the trigeminal, facial and hypoglossal motor nuclei as was significantly apparent at days 90-100 and further protected the VTA throughout life. Importantly, protection of the VTA was significantly correlated with longevity and overall, NAP treatment significantly prolonged life span in the ALS mice.
Pubmed ID: 23631872 RIS Download
Mesh terms: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis | Animals | Axonal Transport | Blotting, Western | Body Weight | Brain | Contrast Media | Disease Progression | Female | Magnetic Resonance Imaging | Male | Manganese | Mice | Mice, Inbred C57BL | Neurodegenerative Diseases | Neuroprotective Agents | Oligopeptides | Phosphorylation | Psychomotor Performance | Spinal Cord | Tubulin | Tyrosine | Ventral Tegmental Area | tau Proteins
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