Modulating disease-relevant tau oligomeric strains by small molecules

Filippa Lo Cascio, Stephanie Garcia, Mauro Montalbano, Nicha Puangmalai, Salome McAllen, Andrea Pace, Antonio Palumbo Piccionello, Rakez Kayed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The pathological aggregation of tau plays an important role in Alzheimer's disease and many other related neurodegenerative diseases, collectively referred to as tauopathies. Recent evidence has demonstrated that tau oligomers, small and soluble prefibrillar aggregates, are highly toxic due to their strong ability to seed tau misfolding and propagate the pathology seen across different neurodegenerative diseases. We previously showed that novel curcumin derivatives affect preformed tau oligomer aggregation pathways by promoting the formation of more aggregated and nontoxic tau aggregates. To further investigate their therapeutic potential, we have extended our studies o disease-relevant brain-derived tau oligomers (BDTOs). Herein, using well-characterized BDTOs, isolated from brain tissues of different tauopathies, including Alzheimer's disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, and dementia with Lewy bodies, we found that curcumin derivatives modulate the aggregation state of BDTOs by reshaping them and rescue neurons from BDTO-associated toxicity. Interestingly, compound CL3 showed an effect on the aggregation pattern of BDTOs from different tauopathies, resulting in the formation of less neurotoxic larger tau aggregates with decreased hydrophobicity and seeding propensity. Our results lay the groundwork for potential investigations of the efficacy and beneficial effects of CL3 and other promising compounds for the treatment of tauopathies. Furthermore, CL3 may aid in the development of tau imaging agent for the detection of tau oligomeric strains and differential diagnosis of the tauopathies, thus enabling earlier interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14807-14825
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number44
StatePublished - Oct 30 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Modulating disease-relevant tau oligomeric strains by small molecules'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this