Natural Products and Molecules for Life Sciences - Neurotrophic agents against neurodegenerative diseases

Natural and non-natural products with neurotrophic/neurogenic properties to be developed against neurodegenerative diseases


This project is conducted in strong connection with CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology Hyderabad, as part of our Indo-French Joint Laboratory.


Small molecules, active as neurotrophic agents, appear of much interest in the context of fast growing neurodegenerative diseases. As part of our CNS* programme on the development of novel neurotrophic/neuritogenic agents, we screen a variety of natural products, especially metabolites isolated from the lichens in Rennes. We also select some already reported molecules described to have a neurotrophic activity. Thus, our selection includes compounds with very different core structures such as terpenes, alkaloids or different heterocyclic structures, polyphenols and so on. When required, we perform the total synthesis of these natural products, as well as the synthesis of selected analogues. At CSIR-IICT, their neurotrophic activity is screened against Neuro A2 cells to obtain Structure-Activity Relationship data used to design more potent derivatives. In parallel we also screen their neuritogenic properties and for the most promising molecules we also conduct in vivo experiments and study their mechanisms of action.
CNS*= Central Nervous System

Our present research in this field is dealing mainly with three aspects:

  • development of some hits with promising neurotrophic activities,
  • research for new compounds with potent neurogenic activities,
  • studies to understand their mechanisms of action and targets at the molecular level.

Fore more information : R. Grée, J. Boustie, M. Chollet-KruglerS. TomasiF. Lohézic-Le DévéhatP. Mosset