CuATSM improves motor function and extends survival but is not tolerated at a high dose in SOD1 G93A mice with a C57BL/6 background
The synthetic copper-containing compound, CuATSM, has emerged as one of the most promising drug candidates developed for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Multiple studies have reported CuATSM treatment provides therapeutic efficacy in various mouse models of ALS without any observable adverse effects. Moreover, recent results from an open label clinical study suggested that daily oral dosing with CuATSM slows disease progression in patients with both sporadic and familial ALS, providing encouraging support for CuATSM in the treatment of ALS. Here, we assessed CuATSM in high copy SOD1G93A mice on the congenic C57BL/6 background, treating at 100 mg/kg/day by gavage, starting at 70 days of age. This dose in this specific model has not been assessed previously. Unexpectedly, we report a subset of mice initially administered CuATSM exhibited signs of clinical toxicity, that necessitated euthanasia in extremis after 3–51 days of treatment. Following a 1-week washout period, the remaining mice resumed treatment at the reduced dose of 60 mg/kg/day. At this revised dose, treatment with CuATSM slowed disease progression and increased survival relative to vehicle-treated littermates. This work provides the first evidence that CuATSM produces positive disease-modifying outcomes in high copy SOD1G93A mice on a congenic C57BL/6 background. Furthermore, results from the 100 mg/kg/day phase of the study support dose escalation determination of tolerability as a prudent step when assessing treatments in previously unassessed models or genetic backgrounds.
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Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia