Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein: from gene to drug candidate

Pharmacol Ther. 2007 May;114(2):146-54. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2007.01.004. Epub 2007 Feb 1.


Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP) is essential for brain formation. The gene encoding ADNP is highly conserved and abundantly expressed in the brain. ADNP contains a homeobox profile and a peptide motif providing neuroprotection against a variety of cytotoxic insults. ADNP mRNA and protein expression responds to brain injury and oscillates as a function of the estrus cycle. The plastic nature of ADNP expression is correlated with brain protection and an association between neuroendocrine regulation and neuroprotection is put forth with ADNP as a focal point. Further understanding of neuroprotective molecules should pave the path to better diagnostics and therapies. In this respect, structure-activity studies have identified a short 8 amino acid peptide in ADNP/NAPVSIPQ (NAP) that provides potent neuroprotection. NAP is currently in clinical development for neuroprotection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Injuries / drug therapy
  • Brain Injuries / genetics
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Design
  • Gene Expression*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Oligopeptides / pharmacology*
  • Oligopeptides / therapeutic use
  • Rats
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide


  • ADNP protein, human
  • Adnp protein, mouse
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Oligopeptides
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide
  • davunetide