Low molecular weight thiol amides attenuate MAPK activity and protect primary neurons from Aβ(1-42) toxicity

Orit Bartov, Rukhsana Sultana, D. Allan Butterfield, Daphne Atlas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Oxidative stress caused by various stimuli lead to oxidation of glutathione (GSH), the major redox power of the cell. Amyloid β [Aβ(1-42)] is one of the key components of senile plaques and is involved in the progress initiation and triggers of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Lower GSH levels correlated with the activation of mitogen-activated proteins kinases (MAPK) have been demonstrated in AD, Parkinson's disease (PD) and other neurodegenerative disorders and have been proposed to play a central role in the deterioration of the aging and neurodegenerative brain. In this study, we evaluated the ability of low molecular weight thiol amides, N-acetyl cysteine amide (AD4) that replenishes GSH levels, N-acetyl glycine cysteine amide (AD7) and N-acetyl-Cys-Gly-Pro-Cys-amide (CB4) to protect primary neuronal culture against the oxidative and neurotoxic effects of Aβ(1-42) and to inhibit cisplatin- and hydrogen-peroxide-induced phosphorylation of two MAP kinases (MAPK), p38 and ERK1/2, in NIH3T3 cells. Cell death induced by Aβ(1-42) in primary neuronal cells was reversed by the thiol amides. Likewise, protein oxidation, loss of mitochondrial function and DNA fragmentation all returned to control levels by pretreatment with the three thiol amides. Elevated phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and p38 induced by cisplatin or H2O2 in NIH3T3 cells was lowered by AD4, AD7 and CB4 in a dose-dependent manner. Taken together, these results suggest that the thiol amides AD4, AD7 and CB4 protect neuronal cells against Aβ(1-42) toxicity by attenuating oxidative stress in correlation with inhibiting the MAPK phosphorylation cascade. These results are consistent with the notion that these small molecular thiol amides may play a viable protective role in the oxidative and neurotoxicity induced by Aβ(1-42) in AD brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-206
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 19 2006


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Aβ(1-42)
  • ERK1/2
  • Free radical
  • MAP kinase
  • Oxidative stress
  • p38

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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