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Free Radic Biol Med. 2012 Dec 1;53(11):2028-42. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2012.09.010. Epub 2012 Sep 20.

A novel small molecule, N-(4-(2-pyridyl)(1,3-thiazol-2-yl))-2-(2,4,6-trimethylphenoxy) acetamide, selectively protects against oxidative stress-induced cell death by activating the Nrf2-ARE pathway: therapeutic implications for ALS.

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NGP Biomedical Research Institute, Neugen Pharma Inc., Kitasato University School of Medicine, Sagamihara, Kanagawa 252-0374, Japan.


Antioxidant defense is crucial in restoring cellular redox homeostasis. Recent findings have suggested that oxidative stress plays pivotal roles in the pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative diseases. Thus, an anti-oxidative stress remedy might be a promising means for the treatment of such disorders. In this study, we employed a novel ligand-based virtual screening system and identified a novel small molecule, N-(4-(2-pyridyl)(1,3-thiazol-2-yl))-2-(2,4,6-trimethylphenoxy) acetamide (CPN-9), which selectively suppressed oxidative stress-induced cell death in a cell-type-independent manner. CPN-9 upregulates NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), a key transcriptional regulator of the expression of phase II detoxification enzymes and antioxidant proteins, and Nrf2-regulated factors such as heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1), and glutamate-cysteine ligase modifier subunit (GCLM). The CPN-9-mediated upregulation of HO-1, NQO1, and GCLM was abolished by Nrf2 knockdown. Moreover, the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine reduced the protective effect of CPN-9 against oxidative stress-induced cell death with concomitant diminishing of Nrf2 nuclear translocation. These results indicate that CPN-9 exerts its activity via the reactive oxygen species-dependent activation of the Nrf2 signaling pathway in cultured cells. It is noteworthy that the postonset systemic administration of CPN-9 to a transgenic ALS mouse model carrying the H46R mutation in the human Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) gene sustained motor functions and delayed disease progression after onset. Collectively, CPN-9 is a novel Nrf2 activator and a neuroprotective candidate for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS.

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