Effects of the Novel IDO Inhibitor DWG-1036 on the Behavior of Male and Female 3xTg-AD Mice

Front Pharmacol. 2019 Sep 24;10:1044. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.01044. eCollection 2019.


The kynurenine pathway metabolizes tryptophan into nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, producing a number of intermediary metabolites, including 3-hydroxy kynurenine and quinolinic acid, which are involved in the neurodegenerative mechanisms that underlie Alzheimer's disease (AD). Indolamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), the first and rate-limiting enzyme of this pathway, is increased in AD, and it has been hypothesized that blocking this enzyme may slow the progression of AD. In this study, we treated male and female 3xTg-AD and wild-type mice with the novel IDO inhibitor DWG-1036 (80 mg/kg) or vehicle (distilled water) from 2 to 6 months of age and then tested them in a battery of behavioral tests that measured spatial learning and memory (Barnes maze), working memory (trace fear conditioning), motor coordination and learning (rotarod), anxiety (elevated plus maze), and depression (tail suspension test). The 3xTg-AD mice treated with DWG-1036 showed better memory in the trace fear conditioning task and significant improvements in learning but poorer spatial memory in the Barnes maze. DWG-1036 treatment also ameliorated the behaviors associated with increased anxiety in the elevated plus maze and depression-like behaviors in the tail suspension test in 3xTg-AD mice. However, the effects of DWG-1036 treatment on the behavioral tasks were variable, and sex differences were apparent. In addition, high doses of DWG-1036 resulted in reduced body weight, particularly in females. Taken together, our results suggest that the kynurenine pathway is a promising target for treating AD, but more work is needed to determine the effective compounds, examine sex differences, and understand the side effects of the compounds.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; behavior; kynurenine pathway; mouse models; novel therapeutic; quinolinic acid.