Cyclodextrins promote protein aggregation posing risks for therapeutic applications

Min S. Wang, Shanta Boddapati, Michael Sierks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The presence of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) is a hallmark feature of various neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's (AD) and Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) diseases. NFTs have been correlated with elevated cholesterol levels and a cholesterol-scavenging compound, cyclodextrin, effectively modulates and traffics cholesterol from cell bodies in NPC disease models. Cyclodextrins are also used as drug carriers to the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and other tissues. While cyclodextrins have potential value in treating brain diseases, it is important to determine how cyclodextrins affect natively unfolded proteins such as beta-amyloid (Aβ) whose aggregation has been correlated with AD. We show that cyclodextrins drastically alter Aβ aggregation kinetics and induce morphological changes to Aβ that can enhance toxicity towards SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells. These results suggest that care must be taken when using cyclodextrins for BBB delivery or for treatment of brain disease because cyclodextrins can promote toxic aggregation of Aβ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)526-531
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 28 2009


  • Aggregation
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Beta-amyloid
  • Cyclodextrin
  • Drug delivery
  • Niemann-Pick's

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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