Effects of amide creatine derivatives in brain hippocampal slices, and their possible usefulness for curing creatine transporter deficiency

Neurochem Res. 2014 Jan;39(1):37-45. doi: 10.1007/s11064-013-1188-8. Epub 2013 Nov 12.


The creatine/phosphocreatine system carries ATP from production to consumption sites and buffers the intracellular content of ATP at times of energy deprivation. The creatine transporter deficiency syndrome is an X-linked disease caused by a defective creatine transporter into the central nervous system. This disease is presently untreatable because creatine lacking its carrier cannot cross neither the blood-brain barrier nor the cell plasma membranes. Possible strategies to cure this condition are to couple creatine to molecules which have their own carrier, to exploit the latter to cross biological membranes or to modify the creatine molecule to make it more lipophilic, in such a way that it may more easily cross lipid-rich biological membranes. Such molecules could moreover be useful for treatment of stroke or other ischemic brain syndromes of normal (transporter working) tissue. In this paper we tested four molecules in in vitro hippocampal slices experiments to investigate whether or not they had a neuroprotective effect similar to that of creatine. On two of them we also performed biochemical measurements to investigate whether or not they were able to increase the creatine and phosphocreatine content of the hippocampal slices with and without block of the transporter. We found that these molecules increase levels of creatine after block of the transporter, and significantly increased the levels of phosphocreatine. Both significantly increased the total creatine content in both conditions of active and blocked transporter. This shows that these molecules are capable of entering cells through biological membranes without using the creatine transporter. By contrast, neither of them was able to delay synaptic block during anoxia of normal (transporter functioning) tissue. We conclude that these compounds might possibly be useful for therapy of creatine transporter deficiency, but further research is needed to understand their possible role in anoxia/ischemia of normal tissue.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Diseases, Metabolic, Inborn
  • Creatine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Creatine / deficiency
  • Creatine / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / deficiency*
  • Mental Retardation, X-Linked
  • Mice
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Phosphocreatine / metabolism
  • Plasma Membrane Neurotransmitter Transport Proteins / deficiency


  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Plasma Membrane Neurotransmitter Transport Proteins
  • creatine transporter
  • Phosphocreatine
  • Creatine

Supplementary concepts

  • Creatine deficiency, X-linked