A rationally designed small molecule for identifying an in vivo link between metal–amyloid-β complexes and the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease
Multiple factors, including amyloid-β (Aβ), metals, and reactive oxygen species (ROS), are involved in the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Metal ions can interact with Aβ species generating toxic oligomers and ROS in vitro; however, the involvement of metal–Aβ complexes in AD pathology in vivo remains unclear. To solve this uncertainty, we have developed a chemical tool (L2-b) that specifically targets metal–Aβ complexes and modulates their reactivity (i.e., metal–Aβ aggregation, toxic oligomer formation, and ROS production). Through the studies presented herein, we demonstrate that L2-b is able to specifically interact with metal–Aβ complexes over metal-free Aβ analogues, redirect metal–Aβ aggregation into off-pathway, nontoxic less structured Aβ aggregates, and diminish metal–Aβ-induced ROS production, overall mitigating metal–Aβ-triggered toxicity, confirmed by multidisciplinary approaches. L2-b is also verified to enter the brain in vivo with relative metabolic stability. Most importantly, upon treatment of 5XFAD AD mice with L2-b, (i) metal–Aβ complexes are targeted and modulated in the brain; (ii) amyloid pathology is reduced; and (iii) cognition deficits are significantly improved. To the best of our knowledge, by employing an in vivo chemical tool specifically prepared for investigating metal–Aβ complexes, we report for the first time experimental evidence that metal–Aβ complexes are related directly to AD pathogenesis.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Global challenges: Health & Food