Research ArticleNEUROSCIENCE

Neuron-based high-content assay and screen for CNS active mitotherapeutics

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Science Advances  08 Jan 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 2, eaaw8702
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw8702


Impaired mitochondrial dynamics and function are hallmarks of many neurological and psychiatric disorders, but direct screens for mitotherapeutics using neurons have not been reported. We developed a multiplexed and high-content screening assay using primary neurons and identified 67 small-molecule modulators of neuronal mitostasis (MnMs). Most MnMs that increased mitochondrial content, length, and/or health also increased mitochondrial function without altering neurite outgrowth. A subset of MnMs protected mitochondria in primary neurons from Aβ(1–42) toxicity, glutamate toxicity, and increased oxidative stress. Some MnMs were shown to directly target mitochondria. The top MnM also increased the synaptic activity of hippocampal neurons and proved to be potent in vivo, increasing the respiration rate of brain mitochondria after administering the compound to mice. Our results offer a platform that directly queries mitostasis processes in neurons, a collection of small-molecule modulators of mitochondrial dynamics and function, and candidate molecules for mitotherapeutics.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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