Novel Glycosaminoglycan Precursors as Anti-Amyloid Agents, Part III

Robert Kisilevsky, Walter A. Szarek, John Ancsin, Shridhar Bhat, Zhanjiang Li, Sandra Marone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In vivo amyloids consist of two classes of constituents. The first is the disease-defining protein, e.g., amyloid β (Aβ) in Alzheimer's disease (AD). The second is a set of common structural components that usually are the building blocks of basement membrane (BM), a tissue structure that serves as a scaffold onto which cells normally adhere. In vitro binding interactions between one of these BM components and amyloidogenic proteins rapidly change the conformation of the amyloidogenic protein into amyloid fibrils. The offending BM component is a heparan sulfate (HS) proteoglycan (HSPG), part of which is protein, and the remainder is a specific linear polysaccharide that is the portion responsible for binding and imparting the typical amyloid structure to the amyloid precursor protein/peptide. Our past work has demonstrated that agents that inhibit the binding between HS and the amyloid precursor are effective antiamyloid compounds both in vitro and in vivo. Similarly, 4-deoxy analogs of glucosamine (a precursor of HS biosynthesis) are effective antiamyloid compounds both in culture and in vivo. Our continuing work concerns (1) the testing of our 4-deoxy compounds in a mouse transgenic model of AD, and (2) the continuing design and synthesis of modified sugar precursors of HS, which when incorporated into the polysaccharide will alter its structure so that it loses its amyloid-inducing properties. Since our previous report, 14 additional compounds have been designed and synthesized based on the known steps involved in HS biosynthesis. Of these, eight have been assessed for their effect on HS biosynthesis in hepatocyte tissue cultures, and the two anomers of a 4-deoxy-D-glucosamine analog have been assessed for their inflammation- associated amyloid (AA amyloid) inhibitory properties in vivo. The promising in vivo results with these two compounds have prompted studies using a murine transgenic model of brain Aβ amyloidogenesis. A macrophage tissue-culture model of AA amyloidogenesis has been devised based on the work of Kluve-Beckerman et al. and modified so as to assess compounds in the absence of potential in vivo confounding variables. Preliminary results indicate that the anomers of interest also inhibit AA amyloid deposition in macrophage tissue culture. Finally, an in vitro technique, using liver Golgi (the site of HS synthesis) rather than whole cells, has been devised to directly assess the effect of analogs on HS biosynthesis. The majority of the novel sugars prepared to date are analogs of N-acetylglucosamine. They have been modified either at the 2-N, C-3, C-4, or C-3 and C-4 positions. Results with the majority of the 2-N analogs suggest that hepacyte N-demethylases remove the N-substituent removal. Several of these have the desired effect on HS biosynthesis using hepatocyte cultures and will be assessed in the culture and in vivo AA amyloid models. To date 3-deoxy and 3,4-dideoxy analogs have failed to affect HS synthesis significantly. Compounds incorporating the 6-deoxy structural feature are currently being designed and synthesized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-297
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Molecular Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Binding
  • Glucosamine analogs
  • Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs)
  • Heparan sulfate
  • SAA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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