Researchers from the Mayo Clinic have shown that inhibition of Hsp90 decreases levels of phosphorylated tau - an aberrant protein species that is associated with cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease - without affecting the levels of normal tau species or other proteins that are chaperoned by the heat shock protein. The results suggest neurodegenerative diseases involving tau pathologies may be addressed by Hsp90 inhibitors, which until now have only been explored as cancer therapeutics.

The article in the Journal of Clinical Investigation explored Hsp90’s role in p-tau degradation and the potential to increase clearing of p-tau by modulating Hsp90, a chaperone protein involved in the refolding of abnormal proteins.