Brain-derived neurotrophic factor for high-throughput evaluation of selective Sigma-1 receptor ligands

Dhwanil A. Dalwadi, Stephanie Kim, John Schetz, Derek A. Schreihofer, Seongcheol Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The Sigma-1 receptor (S1R) is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) chaperone protein that has been implicated in attenuating inflammatory stress-mediated brain injuries. Selective S1R agonists represent a new class of therapeutic agent for treating neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders, however, to date, no S1R ligand has been approved for therapeutic purposes. We used three potential methods on known and potential S1R ligands to develop an unambiguous high-throughput cell screen for S1R activity. We screened known and potential S1R ligands using radioligand binding and previously reported markers of S1R activity including BDNF release, modulation of IP3 mediated calcium release, and modulation of NGF-induced neurite sprouting. Here, we present results several prototypical S1R compounds and some compounds with the potential for drug repurposing. Using an in-situ ELISA approach we demonstrated that these compounds could stimulate S1R-mediated BDNF release, which is a valuable therapeutic property since BDNF plays a critical role in neuronal support. These compounds were classified as S1R agonists because the BDNF response was comparable to the prototypical agonist 4-PPBP and because it could be reversed by a S1R selective concentration of the antagonist BD1063. When modulation of IP3 mediated calcium response and NGF-induced neurite sprouting were used as a measure of S1R activation, we were unable to reproduce the published results and determined that they are not reliable measures for evaluating functional properties of S1R ligands.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107129
JournalJournal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • BDNF
  • Drug repurposing
  • Screening
  • Sigma 1 receptor
  • Sigma 2 receptor


Dive into the research topics of 'Brain-derived neurotrophic factor for high-throughput evaluation of selective Sigma-1 receptor ligands'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this