Using small molecule GSK3β inhibitors to treat inflammation

Curr Med Chem. 2010;17(26):2873-81. doi: 10.2174/092986710792065090.


Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta (GSK3β) is a serine-threonine kinase originally identified for its role in the conversion of glucose to glycogen. Pharmacological inhibition can be achieved by drug binding to ATP or magnesium binding sites on the enzyme. Pharmaceutical companies have developed several small molecule GSK3β inhibitors for diabetes research. Additionally, GSK3β inhibitors are being clinically tested as therapeutics for neurological diseases, however, the mechanisms of involvement are unclear. Several studies have shown that the therapeutic effect of GSK3β inhibition is associated with the inhibition of inflammation. Similarly, the mechanisms underlying the anti-inflammatory function of GSK3β inhibition are not well understood. GSK3β inhibition attenuates activation of the pro-inflammatory transcription factor NFκB, and activates the immuno-modulatory transcription factor β-catenin. GSK3β inhibition has also been shown to induce secretion of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. In addition, pharmacological inhibition of GSK3β suppressed alloreactive T-cell responses. The combined anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory properties of small molecule inhibitors of GSK3β make them an attractive treatment modality towards the control of inflammation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism
  • beta Catenin / chemistry*
  • beta Catenin / pharmacology
  • beta Catenin / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Wnt Proteins
  • beta Catenin
  • GSK3B protein, human
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3