A nonimmunosuppressant FKBP-12 ligand increases nerve regeneration

B G Gold, M Zeleny-Pooley, M S Wang, P Chaturvedi, D M Armistead
Experimental Neurology 1997, 147 (2): 269-78
The immunosuppressant drugs FK506 and cyclosporin A inhibit T-cell proliferation via a common mechanism: calcineurin inhibition following binding to their respective binding proteins, the peptidyl prolyl isomerases FKBP-12 and cyclophilin A. In contrast, FK506, but not cyclosporin A, accelerates nerve regeneration. In the present study, we show that the potent FKBP-12 inhibitor V-10,367, which lacks the structural components of FK506 required for calcineurin inhibition, increases neurite outgrowth in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells and speeds nerve regeneration in the rat sciatic nerve crush model. In SH-SY5Y cells, V-10,367 increased the lengths of neurite processes in a concentration-dependent (between 1 and 10 nM) fashion over time (up to 168 h). Daily subcutaneous injections of V-10,367 accelerated the onset of clinical signs of functional recovery in the hind feet compared to vehicle-treated control animals. Interdigit distances (between the first and fifth digits) measured on foot prints obtained during walking showed an increase in toe spread in V-10,367-treated rats compared to vehicle-treated controls. Electron microscopy demonstrated larger regenerating axons distal to the crush site in the sciatic nerve from V-10,367-treated rats. Quantitation of axonal areas in the soleus nerve revealed a shift to larger axonal calibers in V-10,367-treated rats (400 or 200 mg/kg/day); mean axonal areas were increased by 52 and 59%, respectively, compared to vehicle-treated controls. FKBP-12 ligands lacking calcineurin inhibitory activity represent a new class of potential drugs for the treatment of human peripheral nerve disorders.

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