Browsing by Subject "GFL mimetic"

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  • Sidorova, Yulia A.; Bespalov, Maxim M.; Wong, Agnes W.; Kambur, Oleg; Jokinen, Viljami; Lilius, Tuomas O.; Suleymanova, Ilida; Karelson, Gunnar; Rauhala, Pekka V.; Karelson, Mati; Osborne, Peregrine B.; Keast, Janet R.; Kalso, Eija A.; Saarma, Mart (2017)
    Neuropathic pain caused by nerve damage is a common and severe class of chronic pain. Disease-modifying clinical therapies are needed as current treatments typically provide only symptomatic relief; show varying clinical efficacy; and most have significant adverse effects. One approach is targeting either neurotrophic factors or their receptors that normalize sensory neuron function and stimulate regeneration after nerve damage. Two candidate targets are glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and artemin (ARTN), as these GDNF family ligands (GFLs) show efficacy in animal models of neuropathic pain (Boucher et al., 2000; Gardell et al., 2003: Wang et al., 2008, 2014). As these protein ligands have poor drug-like properties and are expensive to produce for clinical use, we screened 18,400 drug-like compounds to develop small molecules that act similarly to GFLs (GDNF mimetics). This screening identified BT13 as a compound that selectively targeted GFL receptor RET to activate downstream signaling cascades. BT13 was similar to NGF and ARTN in selectively promoting neurite outgrowth from the peptidergic class of adult sensory neurons in culture, but was opposite to ARTN in causing neurite elongation without affecting initiation. When administered after spinal nerve ligation in a rat model of neuropathic pain, 20 and 25 mg/kg of BT13 decreased mechanical hypersensitivity and normalized expression of sensory neuron markers in dorsal root ganglia. In control rats, BT13 had no effect on baseline mechanical or thermal sensitivity, motor coordination, or weight gain. Thus, small molecule BT13 selectively activates RET and offers opportunities for developing novel disease-modifying medications to treat neuropathic pain.
  • Sidorova, Yulia A.; Saarma, Mart (2020)
    Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) family ligands (GFLs) are able to promote the survival of multiple neuronal populations in the body and, therefore, hold considerable promise for disease-modifying treatments of diseases and conditions caused by neurodegeneration. Available data reveal the potential of GFLs for the therapy of Parkinson's disease, neuropathic pain and diseases caused by retinal degeneration but, also, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and, possibly, Alzheimer's disease. Despite promising data collected in preclinical models, clinical translation of GFLs is yet to be conducted. The main reasons for the limited success of GFLs clinical development are the poor pharmacological characteristics of GFL proteins, such as the inability of GFLs to cross tissue barriers, poor diffusion in tissues, biphasic dose-response and activation of several receptors in the organism in different cell types, along with ethical limitations on patients' selection in clinical trials. The development of small molecules selectively targeting particular GFL receptors with improved pharmacokinetic properties can overcome many of the difficulties and limitations associated with the clinical use of GFL proteins. The current review lists several strategies to target the GFL receptor complex with drug-like molecules, discusses their advantages, provides an overview of available chemical scaffolds and peptides able to activate GFL receptors and describes the effects of these molecules in cultured cells and animal models.