A first-in-class small-molecule that acts as a dual inhibitor of HDAC and PDE5 and that rescues hippocampal synaptic impairment in Alzheimer’s disease mice
The targeting of two independent but synergistic enzymatic activities, histone deacetylases (HDACs, class I and HDAC6) and phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5), has recently been validated as a potentially novel therapeutic approach for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This study reports the discovery of a new first-in-class small-molecule (CM-414) that acts as a dual inhibitor of PDE5 and HDACs. They have used this compound as a chemical probe to validate this systems therapeutics strategy, where an increase in the activation of cAMP/cGMP responsive element-binding protein (CREB) induced by PDE5 inhibition, combined with moderate HDAC class I inhibition, leads to efficient histone acetylation. This molecule rescued the impaired long-term potentiation evident in hippocampal slices from APP/PS1 mice. Chronic treatment of Tg2576 mice with CM-414 diminished brain Aβ and tau phosphorylation (pTau) levels, increased the inactive form of GSK3β, reverted the decrease in dendritic spine density on hippocampal neurons, and reversed their cognitive deficits, at least in part by inducing the expression of genes related to synaptic transmission. Thus, CM-414 may serve as the starting point to discover balanced dual inhibitors with an optimal efficacy and safety profile for clinical testing on AD patients.