Chen PC, Gaisina IN, El-Khodor BF, Ramboz S, Makhortova NR, Rubin LL, Kozikowski AP. 2012. Identification of a Maleimide-Based Glycogen Synthase Kinase-3 (GSK-3) Inhibitor, BIP-135, that Prolongs the Median Survival Time of Δ7 SMA KO Mouse Model of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. ACS chemical neuroscience. 3(1):5-11. Pubmed: 22348181


The discovery of upregulated glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) in various pathological conditions has led to the development of a host of chemically diverse small molecule GSK-3 inhibitors, such as BIP-135. GSK-3 inhibition emerged as an alternative therapeutic target for treating spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) when a number of GSK-3 inhibitors were shown to elevate survival motor neuron (SMN) levels in vitro and to rescue motor neurons when their intrinsic SMN level was diminished by SMN-specific short hairpin RNA (shRNA). Despite their cellular potency, the in vivo efficacy of GSK-3 inhibitors has yet to be evaluated in an animal model of SMA. Herein, we disclose that a potent and reasonably selective GSK-3 inhibitor, namely BIP-135, was tested in a transgenic Δ7 SMA KO mouse model of SMA, and found to prolong the median survival of these animals. In addition, this compound was shown to elevate the SMN protein level in SMA patient-derived fibroblast cells as determined by western blot, and was neuroprotective in a cell-based, SMA-related model of oxidative stress-induced neurodegeneration.

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Lee Rubin investigates the key molecular mediators of different neurodegenerative diseases, with the ultimate goal of finding effective preclinical therapeutic candidates.

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