Therapeutic effect of CHF5074, a new γ-secretase modulator, in a mouse model of scrapie.Prion. 2012 Jan-Mar; 6(1):62-72.P
In Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs) and Alzheimer disease (AD) both misfolding and aggregation of specific proteins represent key features. Recently, it was observed that PrP (c) is a mediator of a synaptic dysfunction induced by Aβ oligomers. We tested a novel γ secretase modulator (CHF5074) in a murine model of prion disease. Groups of female mice were intracerebrally or intraperitoneally infected with the mouse-adapted Rocky Mountain Laboratory prions. Two weeks prior infection, the animals were provided with a CHF5074-medicated diet (375 ppm) or a standard diet (vehicle) until they showed neurological signs and eventually died. In intracerebrally infected mice, oral administration of CHF5074 did not prolong survival of the animals. In intraperitoneally-infected mice, CHF5074-treated animals showed a median survival time of 21 days longer than vehicle-treated mice (p < 0.001). In these animals, immunohistochemistry analyses showed that deposition of PrP (Sc) in the cerebellum, hippocampus and parietal cortex in CHF5074-treated mice was significantly lower than in vehicle-treated animals. Immunostaining of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) in parietal cortex revealed a significantly higher reactive gliosis in CHF5074-treated mice compared to the control group of infected animals. Although the mechanism underlying the beneficial effects of CHF5074 in this murine model of human prion disease is unclear, it could be hypothesized that the drug counteracts PrP (Sc) toxicity through astrocyte-mediated neuroprotection. CHF5074 shows a pharmacological potential in murine models of both AD and TSEs thus suggesting a link between these degenerative pathologies.