Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia. Humanin (HN) is a short bioactive peptide abolishing neuronal cell death induced by various familial AD (FAD)-causative genes and amyloid-β (Aβ) in vitro. It has been shown that HN suppresses memory impairment of mice induced by intracerebroventricular administration of Aβ. To potentiate the neuroprotective effect of HN, we synthesized a hybrid peptide named Colivelin composed of activity-dependent neurotrophic factor (ADNF) C-terminally fused to AGA-(C8R)HNG17, a potent HN derivative. Colivelin completely suppresses death induced by overexpressed FAD-causative genes and Aβ1-43 at a concentration of 100 fM, whereas AGA-(C8R)HNG17 does so at a concentration of 10 pM. Colivelin-induced neuroprotection has been confirmed to occur via two neuroprotective pathways: one mediated by Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase IV, triggered by ADNF, and one mediated by signal transducer and activator of transcription 3, triggered by HN. In vivo animal studies have further indicated that intracerebroventricular administration of Colivelin not only completely suppresses impairment in spatial working memory induced by repetitive intracerebroventricular injection of Aβ25-35 or Aβ1-42, but also it antagonizes neuronal loss in the CA1 region of hippocampus induced by hippocampal injection of Aβ1-42. In addition, intraperitoneally administered Colivelin suppresses memory impairment caused by a muscarinic acetylcholine receptor antagonist, 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate, indicating that a substantial portion of intraperitoneally administered Colivelin passes through the blood-brain barrier and suppresses functional memory deficit. Thus, Colivelin might serve as a novel drug candidate for treatment of AD.
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