Selective brain penetrable Nurr1 transactivator for treating Parkinson's disease

Jun Wang, Weina Bi, Wei Zhao, Merina Varghese, Rick J. Koch, Ruth H. Walker, Roshantha A. Chandraratna, Martin E. Sanders, Amanda Janesick, Bruce Blumberg, Libby Ward, Lap Ho, Giulio M. Pasinetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Parkinson's disease (PD) is one of the most common movement disorders, and currently there is no effective treatment that can slow disease progression. Preserving and enhancing DA neuron survival is increasingly regarded as the most promising therapeutic strategy for treating PD. IRX4204 is a second generation retinoid X receptor (RXR) agonist that has no cross reactivity with retinoic acid receptors, farnesoid X receptor, liver X receptors or peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor PPAR?. We found that IRX4204 promotes the survival and maintenance of nigral dopaminergic (DA) neurons in a dose-dependent manner in primary mesencephalic cultures. Brain bioavailability studies demonstrate that IRX4204 can cross the blood brain barrier and reach the brain at nM concentration. Oral administration of IRX4204 can activate nuclear receptor Nurr1 downstream signaling in the substantia nigra (SN) and attenuate neurochemical and motor deficits in a rat model of PD. Our study suggests that IRX4204 represents a novel, potent and selective pharmacological means to activate cellular RXR-Nurr1 signaling and promote SN DA neuron survival in PD prevention and/or treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7469-7479
Number of pages11
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2016


  • Brain bioavailable
  • Dopaminergic
  • Gerotarget
  • Nuclear receptor related-1 protein
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Retinoid x receptor


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