Repurposing ibudilast to mitigate Alzheimer's disease by targeting inflammation.

TitleRepurposing ibudilast to mitigate Alzheimer's disease by targeting inflammation.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsOliveros G, Wallace CH, Chaudry O, Liu Q, Qiu Y, Xie L, Rockwell P, Figueiredo-Pereira ME, Serrano PA
Date Published2023 Mar 01
KeywordsAlzheimer Disease, Amyloid beta-Peptides, Animals, Disease Models, Animal, Drug Repositioning, Female, Inflammation, Male, Memory Disorders, Mice, Mice, Transgenic, Plaque, Amyloid, Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex, Rats, Rats, Transgenic, Toll-Like Receptor 4, Ubiquitins

Alzheimer's disease is a multifactorial disease that exhibits cognitive deficits, neuronal loss, amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles and neuroinflammation in the brain. Hence, a multi-target drug would improve treatment efficacy. We applied a new multi-scale predictive modelling framework that integrates machine learning with biophysics and systems pharmacology to screen drugs for Alzheimer's disease using patients' tissue samples. Our predictive modelling framework identified ibudilast as a drug with repurposing potential to treat Alzheimer's disease. Ibudilast is a multi-target drug, as it is a phosphodiesterase inhibitor and toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) antagonist. In addition, we predict that ibudilast inhibits off-target kinases (e.g. IRAK1 and GSG2). In Japan and other Asian countries, ibudilast is approved for treating asthma and stroke due to its anti-inflammatory potential. Based on these previous studies and on our predictions, we tested for the first time the efficacy of ibudilast in Fisher transgenic 344-AD rats. This transgenic rat model is unique as it exhibits hippocampal-dependent spatial learning and memory deficits and Alzheimer's disease pathology, including hippocampal amyloid plaques, tau paired-helical filaments, neuronal loss and microgliosis, in a progressive age-dependent manner that mimics the pathology observed in Alzheimer's disease patients. Following long-term treatment with ibudilast, transgenic rats were evaluated at 11 months of age for spatial memory performance and Alzheimer's disease pathology. We demonstrate that ibudilast-treatment of transgenic rats mitigated hippocampal-dependent spatial memory deficits, as well as hippocampal (hilar subregion) amyloid plaque and tau paired-helical filament load, and microgliosis compared to untreated transgenic rat. Neuronal density analysed across all hippocampal regions was similar in ibudilast-treated transgenic compared to untreated transgenic rats. Interestingly, RNA sequencing analysis of hippocampal tissue showed that ibudilast-treatment affects gene expression levels of the TLR and ubiquitin-proteasome pathways differentially in male and female transgenic rats. Based on the TLR4 signalling pathway, our RNA sequencing data suggest that ibudilast-treatment inhibits IRAK1 activity by increasing expression of its negative regulator IRAK3, and/or by altering TRAF6 and other TLR-related ubiquitin ligase and conjugase levels. Our results support that ibudilast can serve as a repurposed drug that targets multiple pathways including TLR signalling and the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway to reduce cognitive deficits and pathology relevant to Alzheimer's disease.

Alternate JournalBrain
PubMed ID35411386
PubMed Central IDPMC10226755
Grant ListR01 AG057555 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R25 GM060665 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States