In tauopathies, phosphorylation, acetylation, cleavage and other modifications of tau drive intracellular generation of diverse forms of toxic tau aggregates and associated seeding activity, which have been implicated in subsequent synaptic failure and neurodegeneration. Suppression of this wide range of pathogenic species, seeding and toxicity mechanisms, while preserving the physiological roles of tau, presents a key therapeutic goal. Identification and targeting of signaling networks that influence a broad spectrum of tau pathogenic mechanisms might prevent or reverse synaptic degeneration and modify disease outcomes. The p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) modulates such networks, including activation of multiple tau kinases, calpain and rhoA-cofilin activity. The orally bioavailable small-molecule p75NTR modulator, LM11A-31, was administered to tauP301S mice for 3months starting at 6months of age, when tau pathology was well established. LM11A-31 was found to reduce: excess activation of hippocampal cdk5 and JNK kinases and calpain; excess cofilin phosphorylation, tau phosphorylation, acetylation and cleavage; accumulation of multiple forms of insoluble tau aggregates and filaments; and, microglial activation. Hippocampal extracts from treated mice had substantially reduced tau seeding activity. LM11A-31 treatment also led to a reversal of pyramidal neuron dendritic spine loss, decreased loss of dendritic complexity and improvement in performance of hippocampal behaviors. These studies identify a therapeutically tractable upstream signaling module regulating a wide spectrum of basic mechanisms underlying tauopathies.
View details for DOI 10.1186/s40478-020-01034-0
View details for PubMedID 32891185