Sildenafil as a Candidate Drug for Alzheimer's Disease: Real-World Patient Data Observation and Mechanistic Observations from Patient-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Neurons.

Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD(2024)

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Background:Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disease needing effective therapeutics urgently. Sildenafil, one of the approved phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, has been implicated as having potential effect in AD. Objective:To investigate the potential therapeutic benefit of sildenafil on AD. Methods:We performed real-world patient data analysis using the MarketScan® Medicare Supplemental and the Clinformatics® databases. We conducted propensity score-stratified analyses after adjusting confounding factors (i.e., sex, age, race, and comorbidities). We used both familial and sporadic AD patient induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) derived neurons to evaluate the sildenafil's mechanism-of-action. Results:We showed that sildenafil usage is associated with reduced likelihood of AD across four new drug compactor cohorts, including bumetanide, furosemide, spironolactone, and nifedipine. For instance, sildenafil usage is associated with a 54% reduced incidence of AD in MarketScan® (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.46, 95% CI 0.32- 0.66) and a 30% reduced prevalence of AD in Clinformatics® (HR = 0.70, 95% CI 0.49- 1.00) compared to spironolactone. We found that sildenafil treatment reduced tau hyperphosphorylation (pTau181 and pTau205) in a dose-dependent manner in both familial and sporadic AD patient iPSC-derived neurons. RNA-sequencing data analysis of sildenafil-treated AD patient iPSC-derived neurons reveals that sildenafil specifically target AD related genes and pathobiological pathways, mechanistically supporting the beneficial effect of sildenafil in AD. Conclusions:These real-world patient data validation and mechanistic observations from patient iPSC-derived neurons further suggested that sildenafil is a potential repurposable drug for AD. Yet, randomized clinical trials are warranted to validate the causal treatment effects of sildenafil in AD.
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