Small molecule-mediated co-assembly of amyloid-β oligomers reduces neurotoxicity through promoting non-fibrillar aggregation†
Amyloid-β (Aβ) oligomers, particularly low molecular weight (LMW) oligomers, rather than fibrils, contribute very significantly to the onset and progression of Alzheimer's Disease (AD). However, due to the inherent heterogeneity and metastability of oligomers, most of the conventional anti-oligomer therapies have indirectly modulated oligomers' toxicity through manipulating Aβ self-assembly to reduce oligomer levels, which are prone to suffering from the risk of regenerating toxic oligomers from the products of modulation. To circumvent this disadvantage, we demonstrate, for the first time, rational design of rigid pincer-like scaffold-based small molecules with blood–brain barrier permeability that specifically co-assemble with LMW Aβ oligomers through directly binding to the exposed hydrophobic regions of oligomers to form non-fibrillar, degradable, non-toxic co-aggregates. As a proof of concept, treatment with a europium complex (EC) in such a structural mode can rescue Aβ-mediated dysfunction in C. elegans models of AD in vivo. This small molecule-mediated oligomer co-assembly strategy offers an efficient approach for AD treatment.