Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease of the elderly. Current therapies are only symptomatic, and have no disease-modifying effect. Therefore, disease progresses continuously over time, presenting with both motor and non-motor features. The precise molecular basis for PD is still elusive, but the aggregation of the protein alpha-synuclein (α-syn) is a key pathological hallmark of the disease and is, therefore, a major focus of current research. Considering the intrinsic properties of cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) for mediating drug delivery of neurotherapeutics across the blood brain barrier (BBB), these might open novel opportunities for the development of new solutions for the treatment of brain-related aspects of PD and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Here, we synthesized solid-phase CPPs using an amphipathic model peptide (MAP) conjugated with the drug Rasagiline (RAS), which we named RAS-MAP, and evaluated its effect on α-syn inclusion formation in a human cell-based model of synucleinopathy.
We found that treatment with RAS-MAP at low concentrations (1–3 µM) reduced α-syn aggregation in cells.
For the first time, we report that conjugation of a current drug used in the therapy of PD with CPP reduces α-syn aggregation, which might prove beneficial in PD and other synucleinopathies.