Pre-Clinical Efficacy of a Selective p38MAPK Inhibitor in a Model of Comorbid Alzheimer/Vascular Pathology

Grants and Contracts Details


Cerebrovascular pathology is a very common comorbidity with Alzheimer’s pathology. However, there is limited knowledge about the molecular mechanisms underlying the vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID), the mechanisms that link VCID and Alzheimer progression, or how to intervene effectively in a complex multi-pathology environment. A key mechanism that drives pathophysiology progression in many CNS disorders is dysregulated neuroinflammatory responses from innate immune cells in the brain, and chronic neuroinflammation is a common feature seen early in both VCID and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) progression. An important cell signaling pathway that contributes to neuroinflammatory responses in many CNS disorders is the p38 MAPK pathway, especially the p38á isoform. Activation of this important stress-regulated protein kinase occurs early in AD, p38á activation can lead to chronic neuroinflammation that has neurodegenerative consequences, and selective p38á inhibition is beneficial in AD animal models. However, there is no information on whether p38á is important in the detrimental inflammatory responses and subsequent neurodegenerative sequelae seen in comorbid VCID and AD pathology. Based on our published and feasibility data, we hypothesize that vascular dysfunction in the context of Alzheimer pathology creates an enhanced microglia inflammatory state, driven by p38á MAPK, that worsens the pathologic outcomes. We further postulate that the pathogenic events induced by comorbid VCID and AD will be modifiable by selective inhibition of p38á. To test our hypotheses, we will use the established hyperhomocysteinemia mouse model of cerebral small vessel disease to induce vascular injury in the APP/PS1 transgenic mouse. We will also use our recently developed, exceptionally specific, small molecule p38á inhibitor MW150, which is CNS-penetrant, safe, and efficacious in mouse models of AD pathology. The goal is to determine the therapeutic efficacy of MW150, in order to extend its potential for disease modification to a complex comorbid brain environment exhibiting both VCID and AD pathologies. Aim 1 will determine the minimum dose of MW150 that mitigates VCID-induced functional deficits in AD transgenic mice in a preventative treatment paradigm. Aim 2 will determine the mechanisms underlying MW150’s actions in mitigating degenerative sequelae, by testing its effects on neuroinflammatory, vascular and synaptic dysfunction endpoints. Aim 3 will test MW150 in a therapeutic treatment paradigm, to determine efficacy in older mice when pathology is already present, mimicking what we see in the clinic with AD patients exhibiting comorbid vascular pathology. Because MW150 is a drug candidate in early stage clinical development, successful completion of these mechanistic and highly translational studies will extend the potential clinical utility of MW150 to a disease indication with complex co-morbid pathologies (VCID/AD). Given the urgency of the unmet medical need and MW150’s unique potential, success will offer the potential for a new chemical entity and therapeutic intervention in VCID/AD, either as a mono-therapy or as part of a multiple drug armamentarium
Effective start/end date8/15/193/31/24


  • National Institute on Aging: $2,872,820.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.