The compound is also rapidly absorbed by the brain and is non-toxic ?important considerations for a central nervous system drug that might need to be taken for extended periods.
As described in the Jan. 11 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, the compound, called MW01-5-188WH, selectively inhibits production of pro-inflammatory proteins called cytokines by glia, important cells of the central nervous system that normally help the body mount a response, but are overactivated in certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, stroke and traumatic brain injury.
The compound was designed and synthesized in the laboratory of D. Martin Watterson at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, using a synthetic chemistry platform developed in his lab by researchers at the Northwestern University Center for Drug Discovery and Chemical Biology (CDDCB) for the rapid discovery of new potential therapeutic compounds.
Watterson is co-director of the CDDCB, the J.G. Searle Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and professor of molecular pharmacology and biological chemistry at the Feinberg School.
The efficacy and safety of the compound in an animal model of Alzheimer's disease was evaluated in collaboration with Linda J. Van Eldik, co-director of the CDDCB and professor of cell and molecular biology at Feinberg.
Besides providing a lead compound for drug development, the study has important implications for drug discovery in neurodegenerative diseases in general because it provides proof of concept that targeting over-production of cytokines by activated glia is a viable approach that has the potential to modulate disease onset and progression, the researchers sai