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Neuroscience. 2012 Mar 15;205:185-93. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.12.025. Epub 2011 Dec 24.

Caffeic acid phenethyl ester extends survival of a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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Department of Neurology, Indiana University School of Medicine, 975 West Walnut Street, IB 457A, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.


There is currently very limited effective pharmacological treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Recent evidence suggests that caffeic acid phenethyl ester has strong anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and anti-neuronal death properties; thus, the present study tested the effects of caffeic acid phenethyl ester in mice expressing a mutant superoxide dismutase (SOD1(G93A)) linked to human amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Administration of caffeic acid phenethyl ester after symptom onset significantly increased the post-onset survival and lifespan of SOD1(G93A) mice. Moreover, immunohistochemical analysis detected less activation of microglia and astrocytes and higher motor neuron counts at an early symptomatic stage (7 days following onset) in the spinal cords of SOD1(G93A) mice given caffeic acid phenethyl ester treatment. Additionally, lower levels of phosphorylated p38, a mitogen-activated protein kinase that is involved in both inflammation and neuronal death, were observed in the spinal cords of SOD1(G93A) mice treated with caffeic acid phenethyl ester for 7 days. These results indicate that caffeic acid phenethyl ester may represent a novel and effective therapeutic for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and these significant neuroprotective effects observed in a commonly used amyotrophic lateral sclerosis mouse model validate the therapeutic potential of caffeic acid phenethyl ester for slowing disease progression by attenuating the neuroinflammation and motor neuron cell death associated with clinical amyotrophic lateral sclerosis pathology.

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