Background: A hallmark of Alzheimer's disease is the presence of senile plaques in human brain primarily containing the amyloid peptides Aβ§ssub§42§esub§ and Aβ§ssub§40§ esub§. Many drug discovery efforts have focused on decreasing the production of Aβ§ssub§42§esub§ through γ-secretase inhibition. However, identification of γ-secretase inhibitors has also uncovered mechanism-based side effects. One approach to circumvent these side effects has been modulation of γ-secretase to shift Aβ production to favor shorter, less amyloidogenic peptides than Aβ§ssub§42§esub§, without affecting the overall cleavage efficiency of the enzyme. This approach, frequently called γ-secretase modulation, appears more promising and has lead to the development of new therapeutic candidates for disease modification in Alzheimer's disease. Results: Here we describe EVP-0015962, a novel small molecule γ-secretase modulator. EVP-0015962 decreased Aβ§ ssub§42§esub§ in H4 cells (IC§ssub§50§esub§ = 67 nM) and increased the shorter Aβ§ssub§38§esub§ by 1.7 fold at the IC§ssub§50§esub§ for lowering of Aβ§ssub§42§esub§. Aβ§ssub§Total§ esub§, as well as other carboxyl-terminal fragments of amyloid precursor protein, were not changed. EVP-0015962 did not cause the accumulation of other γ-secretase substrates, such as the Notch and ephrin A4 receptors, whereas a γ-secretase inhibitor reduced processing of both. A single oral dose of EVP-0015962 (30 mg/kg) decreased Aβ§ssub§42§esub§ and did not alter Aβ§ssub§Total§esub§ peptide levels in a dose-dependent manner in Tg2576 mouse brain at an age when overt Aβ deposition was not present. In Tg2576 mice, chronic treatment with EVP-0015962 (20 or 60 mg/kg/day in a food formulation) reduced Aβ aggregates, amyloid plaques, inflammatory markers, and cognitive deficits. Conclusions: EVP-0015962 is orally bioavailable, detected in brain, and a potent, selective γ-secretase modulator in vitro and in vivo. Chronic treatment with EVP-0015962 was well tolerated in mice and lowered the production of Aβ§ssub§42§esub§, attenuated memory deficits, and reduced Aβ plaque formation and inflammation in Tg2576 transgenic animals. In summary, these data suggest that γ-secretase modulation with EVP-0015962 represents a viable therapeutic alternative for disease modification in Alzheimer's disease.
- Alzheimer's disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience