Neuroprotective copper bis(thiosemicarbazonato) complexes promote neurite elongation

Laura Bica, Jeffrey R. Liddell, Paul S. Donnelly, Clare Duncan, Aphrodite Caragounis, Irene Volitakis, Brett M. Paterson, Roberto Cappai, Alexandra Grubman, James Camakaris, Peter J. Crouch, Anthony R White

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Abnormal biometal homeostasis is a central feature of many neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), and motor neuron disease. Recent studies have shown that metal complexing compounds behaving as ionophores such as clioquinol and PBT2 have robust therapeutic activity in animal models of neurodegenerative disease; however, the mechanism of neuroprotective action remains unclear. These neuroprotective or neurogenerative processes may be related to the delivery or redistribution of biometals, such as copper and zinc, by metal ionophores. To investigate this further, we examined the effect of the bis(thiosemicarbazonato) -copper complex, CuII(gtsm) on neuritogenesis and neurite elongation (neurogenerative outcomes) in PC12 neuronal-related cultures. We found that CuII(gtsm) induced robust neurite elongation in PC12 cells when delivered at concentrations of 25 or 50 nM overnight. Analogous effects were observed with an alternative copper bis(thiosemicarbazonato) complex, CuII(atsm), but at a higher concentration. Induction of neurite elongation by CuII(gtsm) was restricted to neurites within the length range of 75-99 μm with a 2.3-fold increase in numbers of neurites in this length range with 50 nM CuII(gtsm) treatment. The mechanism of neurogenerative action was investigated and revealed that CuII(gtsm) inhibited cellular phosphatase activity. Treatment of cultures with 5 nM FK506 (calcineurin phosphatase inhibitor) resulted in analogous elongation of neurites compared to 50 nM CuII(gtsm), suggesting a potential link between CuII(gtsm)-mediated phosphatase inhibition and neurogenerative outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere90070
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes

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