The antibiotic tetracycline demeclocycline (DMC) was recently reported to rescue α-synuclein (α-Syn) fibril-induced pathology. However, the antimicrobial activity of DMC precludes its potential use in long-term neuroprotective treatments. Here, we synthesized a doubly reduced DMC (DDMC) derivative with residual antibiotic activity and improved neuroprotective effects. The molecule was obtained by removal the dimethylamino substituent at position 4 and the reduction of the hydroxyl group at position 12a on ring A of DMC. The modifications strongly diminished its antibiotic activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Moreover, this compound preserved the low toxicity of DMC in dopaminergic cell lines while improving its ability to interfere with α-Syn amyloid-like aggregation, showing the highest effectiveness of all tetracyclines tested. Likewise, DDMC demonstrated the ability to reduce seeding induced by the exogenous addition of α-Syn preformed fibrils (α-SynPFF) in biophysical assays and in a SH-SY5Y-α-Syn-tRFP cell model. In addition, DDMC rendered α-SynPFF less inflammogenic. Our results suggest that DDMC may be a promising drug candidate for hit-to-lead development and preclinical studies in Parkinson’s disease and other synucleinopathies.
Cells. 2022 Sep; 11(17): 2759.