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J Biol Chem. 2012 Apr 6;287(15):11810-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.305227. Epub 2012 Feb 13.

First and second generation γ-secretase modulators (GSMs) modulate amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide production through different mechanisms.

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Department of Neuroscience, AstraZeneca, CNS/PAIN iMED, S-151 85 Södertälje, Sweden.


γ-Secretase-mediated cleavage of amyloid precursor protein (APP) results in the production of Alzheimer disease-related amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides. The Aβ42 peptide in particular plays a pivotal role in Alzheimer disease pathogenesis and represents a major drug target. Several γ-secretase modulators (GSMs), such as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (R)-flurbiprofen and sulindac sulfide, have been suggested to modulate the Alzheimer-related Aβ production by targeting the APP. Here, we describe novel GSMs that are selective for Aβ modulation and do not impair processing of Notch, EphB2, or EphA4. The GSMs modulate Aβ both in cell and cell-free systems as well as lower amyloidogenic Aβ42 levels in the mouse brain. Both radioligand binding and cellular cross-competition experiments reveal a competitive relationship between the AstraZeneca (AZ) GSMs and the established second generation GSM, E2012, but a noncompetitive interaction between AZ GSMs and the first generation GSMs (R)-flurbiprofen and sulindac sulfide. The binding of a (3)H-labeled AZ GSM analog does not co-localize with APP but overlaps anatomically with a γ-secretase targeting inhibitor in rodent brains. Combined, these data provide compelling evidence of a growing class of in vivo active GSMs, which are selective for Aβ modulation and have a different mechanism of action compared with the original class of GSMs described.

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