JNK3 as a Therapeutic Target for Neurodegenerative Diseases

Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Milano, Italy.
Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD (Impact Factor: 3.61). 02/2011; 24(4):633-42. DOI: 10.3233/JAD-2011-091567
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs) and in particular JNK3 the neuronal specific isoform, have been recognized as important enzymes in the pathology of diverse neurological disorders. Indeed, several efforts have been made to design drugs that inhibit JNK signaling. The success that characterized the new generation of cell permeable peptides raise the hope in the field of neurodegeneration for new therapeutic routes. However, in order to design new and more efficient therapeutical approaches careful re-examination of current knowledge is required. Scaffold proteins are key endogenous regulators of JNK signaling: they can modulate spatial and temporal activation of the JNK signaling and can thus provide the basis for the design of more specific inhibitors. This review focuses on delineating the role of scaffold proteins on the regulation of JNK signaling in neurons. Furthermore the possibility to design a new JNK3 cell permeable peptide inhibitor by targeting the β-arrestin-JNK3 interaction is discussed.

1 Follower
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract Purpose: We aimed to investigate the safety, tolerability, and systemic diffusion of a single escalating dose of XG-102 (a 31-D-amino-acid peptide inhibiting JNK pathway activation), administered subconjunctivally in the treatment of post-surgery or post-trauma intraocular inflammation. Methods: This is a dose-escalating, tolerance Phase Ib study. Twenty patients with post-surgery or post-traumatic intraocular inflammation were assigned to 1 of the 4 dose escalating (45, 90, 450, or 900 μg XG-102) groups of 5 patients each. Patients were evaluated at 24, 48 h, 8, and 28 days following the administration of XG-102, including laboratory tests, standard eye examinations, vital signs, and occurrence of adverse events. A single plasma quantification of XG-102 was performed 30 min after administration, according to previous pharmacokinetics studies performed on volunteers. Results: A total of 17 non-serious adverse events, considered unrelated to the study treatment, were reported for 10 patients. The adverse event incidence was not related to the drug dose. All patients experienced a decrease in intraocular inflammation as of 24 h post-administration and this decrease was sustained up to 28 days thereafter. No patient required local injection or systemic administration of corticoids following the administration of XG-102. XG-102 was undetectable in the first 3 dose groups. In the fourth-dose group (900 μg) the XG-102 plasma levels were above the limit of detection for 3 patients and above the limit of quantification for 1 patient. Conclusions: In this first clinical trial using XG-102, administered as a single subconjunctival injection as adjunct therapy, in patients with recent post-surgery or post-trauma intraocular inflammation is safe and well tolerated. Further studies are required to evaluate its efficacy.
    Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics 10/2014; 31(2). DOI:10.1089/jop.2013.0247 · 1.42 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cell permeable peptides (CPPs) represent a novel tool for the delivery of bioactive molecules into scarcely accessible organs, such as the brain. CPPs have been successfully used in pre-clinical studies for a variety of diseases, ranging from cancer to neurological disorders. However, the mechanisms by which CPPs cross biological membranes, as well as their pharmacokinetic properties, have been poorly explored due to the lack of specific and sensitive analytical methods. In this paper we describe a protocol to quantitatively determine the amount of CPPs in in vitro and in vivo experimental models. To this end we selected the peptide D-JNKI1 that was shown to prevent neurodegeneration in both acute and chronic degenerative disorders. This method allows an accurate quantitative analysis of D-JNKI1 in both neuronal lysates and tissue homogenates using mass spectrometry and stable isotope dilution approach. We found that D-JNKI1 crosses cellular membranes with fast kinetics, through an active and passive mechanism. After acute intraperitoneal (ip) administration of D-JNKI1 in mice, the peptide was found in the main organs with particular regard to the liver and kidney. Interestingly, D-JNKI1 crosses the blood brain barrier (BBB) and reaches the brain, where it remains for one week. The challenge lies in developing the clinical application of therapeutic cell permeable peptides. Discerning pharmacokinetic properties are an high priority to produce a powerful therapeutic strategy. Overall, our data shed light on the pharmacokinetic properties of D-JNKI1 and supports its powerfull neuroprotective effect.
    Journal of pharmacological and toxicological methods 05/2014; 70(1). DOI:10.1016/j.vascn.2014.04.001 · 2.15 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) family, with its three members JNK1, JNK2, and JNK3, is a subfamily of mitogen-activated protein kinases. Involved in many aspects of cellular processes, JNK has been also associated with pathological states such as neurodegenerative diseases, inflammation, and cancers. In oncology, each isoform plays a distinct role depending on the context of the targeted tissue/organ, the tumor stage, and, most likely, the signaling pathway activated upstream. Consequently, the current challenge in finding new successful anti-JNK therapies is to design isoform-selective inhibitors of the JNKs. In this review, a particular focus is given to the JNK inhibitors that have been developed thus far when examining 3D structures of various JNK-inhibitor complexes. Using current data regarding structure-activity relationships and medicinal chemistry approaches, our objective is to provide a better understanding of the design and development of selective JNK inhibitors in the present and future. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Jun 4, 2014