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Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2010 Mar;31(3):265-72. doi: 10.1038/aps.2010.3. Epub 2010 Feb 15.

The novel squamosamide derivative FLZ enhances BDNF/TrkB/CREB signaling and inhibits neuronal apoptosis in APP/PS1 mice.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Materia Medica, Peking Union Medical College and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China.



The aim of this study was to study the effects of compound FLZ, a novel cyclic derivative of squamosamide from Annona glabra, on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)/tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB)/cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) signaling and neuronal apoptosis in the hippocampus of the amyloid precursor protein (APP)/presenilin-1 (PS1) double transgenic mice.


APP/PS1 mice at the age of 5 months and age-matched wild-type mice (WT) were intragastrically administered FLZ (150 mg/kg) or vehicle [0.05% carboxymethyl cellulose sodium (CMC-Na)] daily for 20 weeks. The levels of BDNF in the hippocampus of WT and APP/PS1 mice were then measured by immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis. Neuronal apoptosis in mouse hippocampus was detected by Nissl staining. Expression of NGF, NT3, pTrkB (Tyr515)/TrkB, pAkt (Ser473)/Akt, pERK/ERK, pCREB (Ser133)/CREB, Bcl-2/Bax, and active caspase-3 fragment/caspase-3 in the hippocampus of WT and APP/PS1 mice was detected by Western blot analysis.


Compared with vehicle-treated APP/PS1 mice, FLZ (150 mg/kg) significantly increased BDNF and NT3 expression in the hippocampus of APP/PS1 mice. In addition, FLZ promoted BDNF high-affinity receptor TrkB phosphorylation and activated its downstream ERK, thus increasing phosphorylation of CREB at Ser133 in the hippocampus of APP/PS1 mice. Moreover, FLZ showed neuroprotective effects on neuronal apoptosis by increasing the Bcl-2/Bax ratio and decreasing the active caspase-3 fragment/caspase-3 ratio in the hippocampus of APP/PS1 mice.


FLZ exerted neuroprotection at least partly through enhancing the BDNF/TrkB/CREB pathway and inhibiting neuronal apoptosis in APP/PS1 mice, which suggests that FLZ can be explored as a potential therapeutic agent in long-term Alzheimer's disease therapy.

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