Azure C Targets and Modulates Toxic Tau Oligomers

Filippa Lo Cascio, Rakez Kayed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder affecting millions of people worldwide. Therefore, finding effective interventions and therapies is extremely important. AD is one of over 20 different disorders known as tauopathies, characterized by the pathological aggregation and accumulation of tau, a microtubule-associated protein. Tau aggregates are heterogeneous and can be divided into two major groups: large metastable fibrils, including neurofibrillary tangles, and oligomers. The smaller, soluble and dynamic tau oligomers have been shown to be more toxic with more proficient seeding properties for the propagation of tau pathology as compared to the fibrillar Paired Helical Filaments (PHFs). Therefore, developing small molecules that target and interact with toxic tau oligomers can be beneficial to modulate their aggregation pathways and toxicity, preventing progression of the pathology. In this study, we show that Azure C (AC) is capable of modulating tau oligomer aggregation pathways at micromolar concentrations and rescues tau oligomers-induced toxicity in cell culture. We used both biochemical and biophysical in vitro techniques to characterize preformed tau oligomers in the presence and absence of AC. Interestingly, AC prevents toxicity not by disassembling the oligomers but rather by converting them into clusters of aggregates with nontoxic conformation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1317-1326
Number of pages10
JournalACS chemical neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 20 2018


  • Tau oligomers
  • small molecules
  • tau aggregation
  • toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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