Neuroprotective efficacy of P7C3 compounds in primate hippocampus

Melissa D. Bauman, Cynthia M. Schumann, Erin L. Carlson, Sandra L. Taylor, Edwin Vázquez-Rosa, Coral J. Cintrón-Pérez, Min Kyoo Shin, Noelle S. Williams, Andrew A. Pieper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


There is a critical need for translating basic science discoveries into new therapeutics for patients suffering from difficult to treat neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative conditions. Previously, a target-agnostic in vivo screen in mice identified P7C3 aminopropyl carbazole as capable of enhancing the net magnitude of postnatal neurogenesis by protecting young neurons from death. Subsequently, neuroprotective efficacy of P7C3 compounds in a broad spectrum of preclinical rodent models has also been observed. An important next step in translating this work to patients is to determine whether P7C3 compounds exhibit similar efficacy in primates. Adult male rhesus monkeys received daily oral P7C3-A20 or vehicle for 38 weeks. During weeks 2–11, monkeys received weekly injection of 5′-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) to label newborn cells, the majority of which would normally die over the following 27 weeks. BrdU+ cells were quantified using unbiased stereology. Separately in mice, the proneurogenic efficacy of P7C3-A20 was compared to that of NSI-189, a proneurogenic drug currently in clinical trials for patients with major depression. Orally-administered P7C3-A20 provided sustained plasma exposure, was well-tolerated, and elevated the survival of hippocampal BrdU+ cells in nonhuman primates without adverse central or peripheral tissue effects. In mice, NSI-189 was shown to be pro-proliferative, and P7C3-A20 elevated the net magnitude of hippocampal neurogenesis to a greater degree than NSI-189 through its distinct mechanism of promoting neuronal survival. This pilot study provides evidence that P7C3-A20 safely protects neurons in nonhuman primates, suggesting that the neuroprotective efficacy of P7C3 compounds is likely to translate to humans as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number202
JournalTranslational psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


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