Evaluation of polycyclic amines as modulators of calcium homeostasis in models of neurodegeneration
Compromised calcium homeostasis in the central nervous system (CNS) is implicated as a major contributor in the pathology of neurodegeneration. Dysregulation of Ca2+ homeostasis initiates downstream Ca2+–dependent events that lead to apoptotic and/or necrotic cell death. Increases in the intracellular free calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) may be the result of Ca2+ influx from the extracellular environment or Ca2+ release from intracellular Ca2+ stores such as the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Influx from the extracellular environment is controlled predominantly by voltage gated calcium channels (VGCC), such as L–type calcium channels (LTCC) and ionotropic glutamate receptors, such as the N–methyl–D–aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Ca2+ release from the ER occurs through the inositol–1,4,5–triphosphate receptors (IP3Rs) or ryanodine receptors (RyRs) via IP3–induced or Ca2+–induced mechanisms. Mitigation of Ca2+ overload through these Ca2+ channels offers an opportunity for pharmacological interventions that may protect against neuronal death. In the present study the ability of a novel series of polycyclic compounds, both the pentacycloundecylamines and triquinylamines, to regulate calcium influx through LTCC was evaluated in PC12 cells using calcium imaging with Fura–2/AM in a fluorescence microplate reader. We were also able for the first time to determine IC50 values for these compounds as LTCC blockers. In addition, selected compounds were evaluated for their ability to offer protection in apoptosis–identifying assays such as the lactate dehydrogenase release assay (LDH–assay), trypan blue staining assay and immunohistochemistry utilizing the Annexin V–FITC stain for apoptosis. We were also able to obtain single crystal structures for the tricyclo [6.3.0.02,6] undecane–4,9–dien–3,11–dione (9) and tricyclo[6.3.0.02,6]undecane–3,11–dione (10) scaffolds as well as a derivative, N–(3–methoxybenzyl)–3,11–azatricyclo[6.3.0.02,6]undecane (14f). We also evaluated the possibility that the polycyclic compounds might be able to modulate Ca2+ flux through intracellular Ca2+ channels. Computational methods were utilized to accurately predicted IC50 values and develop a QSAR model with marginal error. The linear regression model delivered r2 = 0.83, which indicated a favorable correlation between the predicted and experimental IC50 values. This model could thus serve as valuable predictor for future structural design and optimization efforts. Data obtained from the crystallographic analysis confirmed the NMR–data based structural assignments done for these compounds in previous studies. Obtaining structural information gave valuable insight into the differences in size and geometric constrains, which are key features for the LTCC activity of these compounds. In conclusion, we found that all of the compounds evaluated were able to attenuate Ca2+ influx through the LTCC, with some compounds having IC50 values comparable with known LTCC blockers such as nimodipine. Representative compounds were evaluated for their ability to afford protection against apoptosis induced by 200 μM H2O2. With the exception of compound 14c (the most potent LTCC blocker in the series, IC50 = 0.398 μM), most compounds were able to afford protection at two or more concentrations evaluated. Compound 14c displayed inherent toxicity at the highest concentrations evaluated (100 μM). We concluded that compounds representing both types of structures (pentacycloudecylamines and triquinylamines) have the ability to attenuate excessive Ca2+ influx through the LTCC. In general the aza–pentacycloundecylamines (8a–c) were the most potent LTCC blocker which also had the ability to offer protection in the cell viability assays. However, NGP1–01 (7a) had the most favorable pharmacological profile overall with good activity as an LTCC blocker (IC50 = 86 μM) and the ability to significantly attenuate cell death in the cell viability assays, exhibiting no toxicity. In addition to their ability to modulate Ca2+ influx from the extracellular environment, these compounds also displayed the ability to modulate Ca2+ flux through intracellular Ca2+ channels. The mechanisms by which they act on intracellular Ca2+ channels still remains unclear, but from this preliminary study it would appear that these compounds are able to partially inhibiting Ca2+–ATPase activity whilst possibly simultaneously inhibiting the IP3R. In the absence of extracellular Ca2+ these compounds showed the ability in inhibit voltage–induced Ca2+ release (VICaR), possibly by modulating the gating charge of the voltage sensor being the dihydropyridine receptors. In future studies it might be worthwhile to do an expanded QSAR study and evaluate the aza–pentacycloundecylamines. To clarify the mechanisms by which the polycyclic compounds interact with intracellular Ca2+ channels we should examine the direct interaction with the individual Ca2+ channels independently. The polycyclic compounds evaluated in this study demonstrate potential as multifunctional drugs due to their ability to broadly regulate calcium homeostasis through multiple pathways of Ca2+ entry. This may prove to be more effective in diseases where perturbed Ca2+ homeostasis have devastating effects eventually leading to excitotoxicity and cell death.
- Health Sciences