Researchers show that p38 MAPK protein can be used as therapeutics target against Alzheimer’s Disease

A study published at the Alzheimer’s research & therapy journal showed that the selective suppression of the p38 MAPK protein reduces the phosphorylation levels observed in tau protein, reducing therefore tau tangles, one of the hallmarks found in brains of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) patients.

The team lead by Dr. Kiran Bashar at the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology of the University of New Mexico (USA) tested a small-molecule called MW181 in mouse brains used as AD models. The drug completely abolished the inflammation-induced p38 MAPK activation and the phosphorylation of tau at the site AT8. The animals also presented improved working memory after treatment.

The next steps on this research include to perform bioavailability and safety tests regarding MW181 usage and set-up clinical studies that could proof the usability of p38 MAPK as AD therapeutics target in patients.

The complete study can be accessed  freely at the journal site. Portuguese version.

Posted by: Dr. Adriano Barbosa-Silva, Bioinformatics Research Associate at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine, University of Luxembourg. Editor-in-chief of NDD News.


Maphis, N., Jiang, S., Xu, G., Kokiko-Cochran, O. N., Roy, S. M., Van Eldik, L. J., … Bhaskar, K. (2016). Selective suppression of the α isoform of p38 MAPK rescues late-stage tau pathology. Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy, 8, 54.