Targeting Inflammation, PHA-767491 Shows a Broad Spectrum in Protein Aggregation Diseases

Yu Han Chung, Chia Wei Lin, Hsin Yu Huang, Shu Ling Chen, Hei Jen Huang, Ying Chieh Sun, Guan Chiun Lee, Guey Jen Lee-Chen, Ya Ching Chang*, Hsiu Mei Hsieh-Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Many protein aggregation diseases (PAD) affect the nervous system. Deposits of aggregated disease-specific proteins are found within or around the neuronal cells of neurodegenerative diseases. Although the main protein component is disease-specific, oligomeric aggregates are presumed to be the key agents causing the neurotoxicity. Evidence has shown that protein aggregates cause a chronic inflammatory reaction in the brain, resulting in neurodegeneration. Therefore, strategies targeting anti-inflammation could be beneficial to the therapeutics of PAD. PHA-767491 was originally identified as an inhibitor of CDC7/CDK9 and was found to reduce TDP-43 phosphorylation and prevent neurodegeneration in TDP-43 transgenic animals. We recently identified PHA-767491 as a GSK-3β inhibitor. In this study, we established mouse hippocampal primary culture with tau-hyperphosphorylation through the activation of GSK-3β using Wortmannin and GF109203X. We found that PHA-767491 significantly improved the neurite outgrowth of hippocampal primary neurons against the neurotoxicity induced by GSK-3β. We further showed that PHA-767491 had neuroprotective ability in hippocampal primary culture under oligomeric Aβ treatment. In addition, PHA-767491 attenuated the neuroinflammation in mouse cerebellar slice culture with human TBP-109Q agitation. Further study of SCA17 transgenic mice carrying human TBP-109Q showed that PHA-767491 ameliorated the gait ataxia and the inflammatory response both centrally and peripherally. Our findings suggest that PHA-767491 has a broad spectrum of activity in the treatment of different PAD and that this activity could be based on the anti-inflammation mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1140-1152
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Molecular Neuroscience
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul 1


  • GSK-3β inhibitor
  • Inflammation
  • PHA-767491
  • Protein aggregation diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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