Rho kinase inhibition as a therapeutic for progressive supranuclear palsy and corticobasal degeneration

Academic Article


  • Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and corticobasal degeneration (CBD) are neurodegenerative four-repeat tauopathies with no cure. Mitigating pathogenic tau levels is a rational strategy for tauopathy treatment, but therapeutic targets with clinically available drugs are lacking. Here, we report that protein levels of the Rho-associated protein kinases (ROCK1 and ROCK2), p70 S6 kinase (S6K), and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) were increased in PSP and CBD brains. RNAi depletion of ROCK1 or ROCK2 reduced taumRNA and protein level in human neuroblastoma cells. However, additional phenotypes were observed under ROCK2 knockdown, including decreased S6K and phosphorylated mTOR levels. Pharmacologic inhibition of Rho kinases in neurons diminished detergent-soluble and -insoluble tau through a combination of autophagy enhancement and tau mRNA reduction. Fasudil, a clinically approved ROCK inhibitor, suppressed rough eye phenotype and mitigated pathogenic tau levels by inducing autophagic pathways in a Drosophila model of tauopathy. Collectively, these findings highlight the Rho kinases as rational therapeutic targets to combat tau accumulation in PSP and CBD.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 9767530
  • Author List

  • Gentry EG; Henderson BW; Arrant AE; Gearing M; Feng Y; Riddle NC; Herskowitz JH
  • Start Page

  • 1316
  • End Page

  • 1323
  • Volume

  • 36
  • Issue

  • 4