Evaluation of cholesterol reduction activity of methyl-β-cyclodextrin using differentiated human neurons and astrocytes.

Paradigms and Technologies
Methods Development


Recent advances in stem cell technology have enabled large-scale production of human cells such as cardiomyocytes, hepatocytes, and neurons for evaluation of pharmacologic effect and toxicity of drug candidates. The assessment of compound efficacy and toxicity using human cells should lower the high clinical attrition rates of drug candidates by reducing the impact of species differences on drug efficacy and toxicity from animal studies. Methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MBCD) has been shown to reduce lysosomal cholesterol accumulation in skin fibroblasts derived from patients with Niemann Pick type C disease and in the NPC1-/- mouse model. However, the compound has never been tested in human differentiated neurons. We have determined the cholesterol reduction effect of MBCD in neurons differentiated from human neural stem cells (NSCs) and commercially available astrocytes. The use of NSCs for producing differentiated neurons in large quantities can significantly reduce the production time and enhance the reproducibility of screening results. The EC(50) values of MBCD on cholesterol reduction in human neurons and astrocytes were 66.9 and 110.7 µM, respectively. The results indicate that human neurons differentiated from the NSCs and human astrocytes are useful tools for evaluating pharmacologic activity and toxicity of drug candidates to predict their clinical efficacy.


Swaroop, Manju; Thorne, Natasha; Rao, Mahendra S; Austin, Christopher; McKew, John C; Zheng, Wei;


  • Animals
  • Anticholesteremic Agents/ pharmacology
  • Astrocytes/ drug effects
  • Astrocytes/ metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cholesterol/ metabolism
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical/ methods
  • Fibroblasts/ drug effects
  • Fibroblasts/ metabolism
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/ cytology
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/ metabolism
  • Lysosomes/ metabolism
  • Mice
  • Neural Stem Cells/ cytology
  • Neural Stem Cells/ metabolism
  • Neurons/ cytology
  • Neurons/ drug effects
  • Neurons/ metabolism
  • beta-Cyclodextrins/ pharmacology

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