NAP (davunetide) provides functional and structural neuroprotection

Curr Pharm Des. 2011;17(10):1040-4. doi: 10.2174/138161211795589373.


NAP (davunetide) is an eight amino acid peptide (NAPVSIPQ) that has been shown to provide potent neuroprotection, in vitro and in vivo. In human clinical trials, NAP has been shown to increase memory scores in patients suffering from amnestic mild cognitive impairment, a precursor to Alzheimer's disease and to enhance functional daily behaviors in schizophrenia patients. NAP is derived from activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP) a molecule that is essential for brain formation, interacting with chromatin associated protein alpha and the chromatin remodeling complex SWI/SNF and regulating >400 genes during embryonic development. Partial loss in ADNP results in cognitive deficits and pathology of the microtubule associated protein tau (tauopathy) that is ameliorated in part by NAP replacement therapy. Recent studies increased the scope of NAP neuroprotection and provided further insights into the NAP mechanisms of action. Thus, it has been hypothesized that the presence of tau on axonal microtubules renders them notably less sensitive to the microtubule-severing protein katanin, and NAP was shown to protect microtubules from katanin disruption in the face of reduced tau expression. Parallel studies showed that NAP reduced the number of apoptotic neurons through activation of PI-3K/Akt pathway in the cortical plate or both PI-3K/Akt and MAPK/MEK1 kinases in the white matter. The interaction of these disparate yet complementary pathways is the subject of future studies toward human brain neuroprotection in the clinical scenario.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Palsy / drug therapy
  • Cerebral Palsy / metabolism
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / drug therapy
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neuroprotective Agents / chemistry
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Oligopeptides* / chemistry
  • Oligopeptides* / physiology
  • Oligopeptides* / therapeutic use
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy
  • Schizophrenia / metabolism


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Oligopeptides
  • davunetide