Hsp90 inhibitors such as geldanamycin potently induce Hsp70 and reduce cytotoxicity due to α-synuclein expression, although their use has been limited due to toxicity, brain permeability, and drug design. We recently described the effects of a novel class of potent, small molecule Hsp90 inhibitors in cells overexpressing α-synuclein. Screening yielded several candidate compounds that significantly reduced α-synuclein oligomer formation and cytotoxicity associated with Hsp70 induction. In this study we examined whether chronic treatment with candidate Hsp90 inhibitors could protect against α-synuclein toxicity in a rat model of parkinsonism. Rats were injected unilaterally in the substantia nigra with AAV8 expressing human α-synuclein and then treated with drug for approximately 8 weeks by oral gavage. Chronic treatment with SNX-0723 or the more potent, SNX-9114 failed to reduce dopaminergic toxicity in the substantia nigra compared to vehicle. However, SNX-9114 significantly increased striatal dopamine content suggesting a positive neuromodulatory effect on striatal terminals. Treatment was generally well tolerated, but higher dose SNX-0723 (6-10 mg/kg) resulted in systemic toxicity, weight loss, and early death. Although still limited by potential toxicity, Hsp90 inhibitors tested herein demonstrate oral efficacy and possible beneficial effects on dopamine production in a vertebrate model of parkinsonism that warrant further study.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)