New compound able to ‘select’ the positive effects of cortisol

Dr. Onno Meijer from LUMC in The Netherlands published an article in the scientific journal PNAS on his latest research. Together with PamGene, and researchers from several other institutes, he performed a study into a new compound that is able to imitate positive effects of cortisol and inhibits adverse effects.

Dr. Onno Meijer is researcher at the department of Endrocrinology at the Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum (LUMC). “The stress hormone cortisol is involved in stress related diseases like psychotic depressions. But it also has positive effects. Current drugs that inhibit the effects of cortisol, also inhibit the positive effects of it. They can inhibit memory formation, and lead compensatory changes that counteract efficacy. So we are looking for a compound that inhibits the negative effects of cortisol, without losing the positive effects.

Based on a molecular analysis with PamGene ‘s MARCoNI technology, we predicted that a new compound, C108297, developed by the Pharmaceutical company Corcept, has a unique profile. It can reduce the anxiety-like effects and stimulate the learning centre, without all the negative side effects. This means this compound is a selective modulator. We are familiar with the principles of selective modulators in breast cancer. Tamoxifen is a drug that inhibits the effects of estrogen in a tumour, but stimulates the effects of estrogen in bones. However, this is the first time we demonstrated the principle of selective modulators for the effects of cortisol in the brain.”

Dr. Meijer thinks this compound is a potential new drug against stress related brain diseases like a psychotic depression, or diseases in which inflammation and metabolism are involved. “But this requires a lot of research. At this moment we study how it is possible that this compound counters weight gain.”

Read the abstract in PNAS: ‘Differential targeting of brain stress circuits with a selective glucocorticoid receptor modulator’

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