Our drug candidates are small peptides derived from the SCO-spondin embryogenesis protein,

conserving its specific capacity on neural cell differentiation and axon guidance

 

 

During embryogenesis, a small organ named Subcommisural Organ (SCO) located in the dorsal roof of the brain differentiates and secrets a protein, the SCO-spondin, with potent activity on the neurogenesis.

 

All mammalians and several other species carry this organ from embryogenesis to the adult life, in contrary to humans where it becomes atrophic after birth. In batracian, with for example salamander, SCO-spondin is still present at adult stage, conferring to the animal the capacity to regrow nerves after injury.

 

The interaction between glia and neurons is essential in development, function and repair of the central nervous system (CNS). Signaling of glia is critical for axonal guidance and synaptogenesis at early developmental stages, where glial cells play a prominent role in the pathology of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases, dysmyelinating diseases, etc. The name “glia” encompasses a broad variety of cells including the secretory ependymal cells of the subcommissural organ (SCO).

 

Unlike lower vertebrates, human beings are unable to regenerate damaged or destroyed nervous cells.

 

 Among the therapeutic approaches aiming to repair or to interfere with the progression of a disease, a particular attention was focused on the constituents of the extracellular matrix at the injury or degenerative site as well as compounds and proteins expressed during developmental processes which allow correct constitution of complex structures like the brain structure and the spinal cord.

In this context, SCO-spondin, a protein secreted early during the embryonic life by the specialized ependymocytes, is a promising candidate. In addition, this protein as well as its derived peptides, named NX peptides, have shown to have combined biological activities on nervous cells and in in vivo models of CNS disorders by promoting neuroprotection and neuroregeneration.