Ciliary neurotrophic factor cell-based delivery prevents synaptic impairment and improves memory in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease.
- NORLUX Neuro-Oncology Laboratory
The development of novel therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer's disease (AD) represents one of the biggest unmet medical needs today. Application of neurotrophic factors able to modulate neuronal survival and synaptic connectivity is a promising therapeutic approach for AD. We aimed to determine whether the loco-regional delivery of ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) could prevent amyloid-beta (Abeta) oligomer-induced synaptic damages and associated cognitive impairments that typify AD. To ensure long-term administration of CNTF in the brain, we used recombinant cells secreting CNTF encapsulated in alginate polymers. The implantation of these bioreactors in the brain of Abeta oligomer-infused mice led to a continuous secretion of recombinant CNTF and was associated with the robust improvement of cognitive performances. Most importantly, CNTF led to full recovery of cognitive functions associated with the stabilization of synaptic protein levels in the Tg2576 AD mouse model. In vitro as well as in vivo, CNTF activated a Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription-mediated survival pathway that prevented synaptic and neuronal degeneration. These preclinical studies suggest that CNTF and/or CNTF receptor-associated pathways may have AD-modifying activity through protection against progressive Abeta-related memory deficits. Our data also encourage additional exploration of ex vivo gene transfer for the prevention and/or treatment of AD.