Potentially druggable mechanisms underlying synaptic deficits seen in Parkinson's disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) are under intense interrogations. In addition to defective synaptic vesicle trafficking, cytoskeletal disruption, autophagic perturbation, and neuroinflammation, hyperphosphorylation of microtubule-associated protein collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP2, also known as DPYSL2) is newly determined to correlate with synaptic deficits in human DLB. The small molecule experimental therapeutic, lanthionine ketimine-5-ethyl ester (LKE), appears to interact with CRMP2 in a host of neurodegenerative mouse models, normalizing its phosphorylation level while promoting healthful autophagy in cell culture models and suppressing the proinflammatory phenotype of activated microglia. Accordingly, this study examined the effect of LKE on α-synuclein A53T transgenic (Tg) mice which were employed as a DLB model. We found that chronic administration of LKE to A53T mice suppressed (1) the accumulation of LBs, (2) neuroinflammatory activation of microglia, (3) impairment of contextual fear memory, and (4) CRMP2 phosphorylation at Thr509 in A53T Tg mice. These results suggest that CRMP2 phosphorylation by GSK3β in the hippocampus is related to pathology and memory impairment in DLB, and LKE may have clinical implications in the treatment of α-synucleinopathy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas