Therapies for epilepsy mainly provide symptomatic control of seizures since most of the available drugs do not target disease mechanisms. Moreover, about one-third of patients fail to achieve seizure control. To address the clinical need for disease-modifying therapies, research should focus on targets which permit interventions finely balanced between optimal efficacy and safety. One potential candidate is the brain-specific enzyme cholesterol 24-hydroxylase. This enzyme converts cholesterol to 24S-hydroxycholesterol, a metabolite which among its biological roles modulates neuronal functions relevant for hyperexcitability underlying seizures. To study the role of cholesterol 24-hydroxylase in epileptogenesis, we administered soticlestat (TAK-935/OV935), a potent and selective brain-penetrant inhibitor of the enzyme, during the early disease phase in a mouse model of acquired epilepsy using a clinically relevant dose. During soticlestat treatment, the onset of epilepsy was delayed and the number of ensuing seizures was decreased by about 3-fold compared to vehicle-treated mice, as assessed by EEG monitoring. Notably, the therapeutic effect was maintained 6.5 weeks after drug wash-out when seizure number was reduced by about 4-fold and their duration by 2-fold. Soticlestat-treated mice showed neuroprotection of hippocampal CA1 neurons and hilar mossy cells as assessed by post-mortem brain histology. High throughput RNA-sequencing of hippocampal neurons and glia in mice treated with soticlestat during epileptogenesis showed that inhibition of cholesterol 24-hydroxylase did not directly affect the epileptogenic transcriptional network, but rather modulated a non-overlapping set of genes that might oppose the pathogenic mechanisms of the disease. In human temporal lobe epileptic foci, we determined that cholesterol 24-hydroxylase expression trends higher in neurons, similarly to epileptic mice, while the enzyme is ectopically induced in astrocytes compared to control specimens. Soticlestat reduced significantly the number of spontaneous seizures in chronic epileptic mice when was administered during established epilepsy. Data show that cholesterol 24-hydroxylase contributes to spontaneous seizures and is involved in disease progression, thus it represents a novel target for chronic seizures inhibition and disease-modification therapy in epilepsy.

Cholesterol 24-hydroxylase is a novel pharmacological target for anti-ictogenic and disease modification effects in epilepsy

Terrone, Gaetano;
2022

Abstract

Therapies for epilepsy mainly provide symptomatic control of seizures since most of the available drugs do not target disease mechanisms. Moreover, about one-third of patients fail to achieve seizure control. To address the clinical need for disease-modifying therapies, research should focus on targets which permit interventions finely balanced between optimal efficacy and safety. One potential candidate is the brain-specific enzyme cholesterol 24-hydroxylase. This enzyme converts cholesterol to 24S-hydroxycholesterol, a metabolite which among its biological roles modulates neuronal functions relevant for hyperexcitability underlying seizures. To study the role of cholesterol 24-hydroxylase in epileptogenesis, we administered soticlestat (TAK-935/OV935), a potent and selective brain-penetrant inhibitor of the enzyme, during the early disease phase in a mouse model of acquired epilepsy using a clinically relevant dose. During soticlestat treatment, the onset of epilepsy was delayed and the number of ensuing seizures was decreased by about 3-fold compared to vehicle-treated mice, as assessed by EEG monitoring. Notably, the therapeutic effect was maintained 6.5 weeks after drug wash-out when seizure number was reduced by about 4-fold and their duration by 2-fold. Soticlestat-treated mice showed neuroprotection of hippocampal CA1 neurons and hilar mossy cells as assessed by post-mortem brain histology. High throughput RNA-sequencing of hippocampal neurons and glia in mice treated with soticlestat during epileptogenesis showed that inhibition of cholesterol 24-hydroxylase did not directly affect the epileptogenic transcriptional network, but rather modulated a non-overlapping set of genes that might oppose the pathogenic mechanisms of the disease. In human temporal lobe epileptic foci, we determined that cholesterol 24-hydroxylase expression trends higher in neurons, similarly to epileptic mice, while the enzyme is ectopically induced in astrocytes compared to control specimens. Soticlestat reduced significantly the number of spontaneous seizures in chronic epileptic mice when was administered during established epilepsy. Data show that cholesterol 24-hydroxylase contributes to spontaneous seizures and is involved in disease progression, thus it represents a novel target for chronic seizures inhibition and disease-modification therapy in epilepsy.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/892971
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