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    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) comprises a broad range of neurodevelopmental disorders that are associated with deficits in social interaction and communication. The tyrosine kinase inhibitor tyrphostin AG126 represents a promising therapeutic agent for several neuroinflammatory disorders. There are currently no treatments available that can improve ASD and we previously showed that AG126 treatment exerts beneficial effects on BTBR T+ Itpr3tf/J (BTBR) mice, a model for autism that shows the core features of ASD; however, the immunological mechanisms and molecular targets associated with this effect were previously unclear. This study was undertaken to delineate the neuroprotective effect of AG126 on BTBR mice. Here, using this mouse model, we investigated the effects of AG126 administration on IL-21R, IL-21, IL-22, TNF-α, NOS2, STAT3, IL-27, and Foxp3 production by CD8+ T cells in the spleen by flow cytometry. We further explored the mRNA and protein expression of IL-21, IL-22, IL-1β, TNF-α, NOS2, JAK1, STAT3, IL-27, and Foxp3 in brain tissue by RT-PCR, and western blotting. We found that BTBR mice treated with AG126 exhibited significant decreases in IL-21R-, IL-21-, IL-22-, TNF-α-, NOS2-, STAT3-producing, and increases in IL-27- and Foxp3-producing, CD8+ T cells. Our results further demonstrated that AG126 treatment effectively decreased IL-21, IL-22, IL-1β, TNF-α, NOS2, JAK1, and STAT3, and increased IL-27 and Foxp3 mRNA and protein expression in brain tissues. Our findings suggest that AG126 elicits a neuroprotective response through downregulation of the IL-21/IL-21R and JAK/STAT pathway in BTBR mice, which could represent a promising novel therapeutic target for ASD treatment. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Sheikh F Ahmad, Mushtaq A Ansari, Ahmed Nadeem, Saleh A Bakheet, Sary Alsanea, Khaled A Al-Hosaini, Hafiz M Mahmood, Mohammad Z Alzahrani, Sabry M Attia. Inhibition of tyrosine kinase signaling by tyrphostin AG126 downregulates the IL-21/IL-21R and JAK/STAT pathway in the BTBR mouse model of autism. Neurotoxicology. 2020 Mar;77:1-11

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    PMID: 31811869

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