Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology

Breadcrumb Navigation


Multiple molecular pathways stimulating macroautophagy protect from alpha-synuclein-induced toxicity in human neurons.

Neuropharmacology. 2019 Feb 4;149:13-26. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2019.01.023. [Epub ahead of print]

Authors/Editors: Höllerhage M, Fussi N, Rösler TW, Wurst W, Behrends C, Höglinger GU.
Publication Date: 2019



Pathological aggregates of alpha-synuclein are the common hallmarks of synucleinopathies, including Parkinson's disease. There is currently no disease-modifying therapy approved for neurodegenerative synucleinopathies. The induction of macroautophagy by small compounds may be a strategy to reduce the cellular alpha-synuclein burden and to confer neuroprotection. Therefore, in the present study, we investigated a broad spectrum of druggable molecular signaling pathways reported to induce macroautophagy in human cells and compared their protective efficacy against alpha-synuclein-induced toxicity in cultured human postmitotic dopaminergic neurons. Several compounds affecting different pathways were able to activate macroautophagy. All compounds that activated autophagy also protected against alpha-synuclein-induced toxicity. The compounds with the lowest effective concentrations were PI-103, L-690,330, and NF 449, making them particularly interesting for further investigations, including in vivo models. Our findings demonstrate that activation of macroautophagy, as a neuroprotective approach in synucleinopathies, is accessible to pharmacotherapy. Moreover, pharmacological activation of macroautophagy via diverse signaling pathways is effective to protect human dopaminergic neurons against alpha-synuclein-induced toxicity.


Related Links