Selectivity, efficacy and toxicity studies of UCCB01-144, a dimeric neuroprotective PSD-95 inhibitor

Anders Bach, Bettina Hjelm Clausen, Lotte Kellemann Kristensen, Maria Gammelstrup Andersen, Ditte Gry Ellman, Pernille B. Lærkegaard Hansen, Henrik Hasseldam, Marc Heitz, Dennis Özcelik, Ellie J. Tuck, Maksym V. Kopanitsa, Seth G.N. Grant, Karin Lykke-Hartmann, Flemming F. Johansen, Kate Lykke Lambertsen*, Kristian Strømgaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Inhibition of postsynaptic density protein-95 (PSD-95) decouples N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor downstream signaling and results in neuroprotection after focal cerebral ischemia. We have previously developed UCCB01-144, a dimeric PSD-95 inhibitor, which binds PSD-95 with high affinity and is neuroprotective in experimental stroke. Here, we investigate the selectivity, efficacy and toxicity of UCCB01-144 and compare with the monomeric drug candidate Tat-NR2B9c. Fluorescence polarization using purified proteins and pull-downs of mouse brain lysates showed that UCCB01-144 potently binds all four PSD-95-like membrane-associated guanylate kinases (MAGUKs). In addition, UCCB01-144 affected NMDA receptor signaling pathways in ischemic brain tissue. UCCB01-144 reduced infarct size in young and aged male mice at various doses when administered 30 min after permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion, but UCCB01-144 was not effective in young male mice when administered 1 h post-ischemia or in female mice. Furthermore, UCCB01-144 was neuroprotective in a transient stroke model in rats, and in contrast to Tat-NR2B9c, high dose of UCCB01-144 did not lead to significant changes in mean arterial blood pressure or heart rate. Overall, UCCB01-144 is a potent MAGUK inhibitor that reduces neurotoxic PSD-95-mediated signaling and improves neuronal survival following focal brain ischemia in rodents under various conditions and without causing cardiovascular side effects, which encourages further studies towards clinical stroke trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-111
Publication statusPublished - 15. May 2019


  • Dimeric inhibitor
  • Ischemic stroke
  • MAGUKs
  • Neuroprotection
  • PSD-95

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