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J Neurochem. 2001 Jan;76(1):173-81.

Functional gamma-secretase inhibitors reduce beta-amyloid peptide levels in brain.

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Elan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA.


Converging lines of evidence implicate the beta-amyloid peptide (Ass) as causative in Alzheimer's disease. We describe a novel class of compounds that reduce A beta production by functionally inhibiting gamma-secretase, the activity responsible for the carboxy-terminal cleavage required for A beta production. These molecules are active in both 293 HEK cells and neuronal cultures, and exert their effect upon A beta production without affecting protein secretion, most notably in the secreted forms of the amyloid precursor protein (APP). Oral administration of one of these compounds, N-[N-(3,5-difluorophenacetyl)-L-alanyl]-S-phenylglycine t-butyl ester, to mice transgenic for human APP(V717F) reduces brain levels of Ass in a dose-dependent manner within 3 h. These studies represent the first demonstration of a reduction of brain A beta in vivo. Development of such novel functional gamma-secretase inhibitors will enable a clinical examination of the A beta hypothesis that Ass peptide drives the neuropathology observed in Alzheimer's disease.

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