Aims: Small molecule compound tyrphostin A9 (A9), an inhibitor of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) receptor, was previously reported by our group to stimulate extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1 (ERK1) and 2 (ERK2) in neuronal cells in a PDGF receptor-irrelevant manner. The study aimed to investigate whether A9 could protect axons in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis through activation of ERKs.
Main methods: A9 treatment on the protection on neurite outgrowth in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells and primary substantia nigra neuron cultures from the neurotoxin MPP+ were analyzed. Then, clinical symptoms as well as ERK1/2 activation, axonal protection induction, and the abundance increases of the regeneration biomarker GAP-43 in the CNS in the relapsing-remitting experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model were verified.
Key findings: A9 treatment could stimulate neurite outgrowth in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells and protect primary substantia nigra neuron cultures from the neurotoxin MPP+. In the relapsing-remitting EAE model, oral administration of A9 successfully ameliorated clinical symptoms, activated ERK1/2, induced axonal protection, and increased the abundance of the regeneration biomarker GAP-43 in the CNS. Interestingly, gene deficiency of ERK1 or ERK2 disrupted the beneficial effects of A9 in MOG-35-55-induced EAE.
Significance: These results demonstrated that small molecule compounds that stimulate persistent ERK activation in vitro and in vivo may be useful in protective or restorative treatment for neurodegenerative diseases.
Keywords: Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE); Extracellular signal-regulated kinase; Multiple sclerosis (MS); Tyrphostin A9.
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