The investigation of the T-type calcium channel enhancer SAK3 in an animal model of TAF1 intellectual disability syndrome

Udaiyappan Janakiraman, Chinnasamy Dhanalakshmi, Jie Yu, Aubin Moutal, Lisa Boinon, Kohji Fukunaga, Rajesh Khanna, Mark A. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


T-type calcium channels, in the central nervous system, are involved in the pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative diseases, including TAF1 intellectual disability syndrome (TAF1 ID syndrome). Here, we evaluated the efficacy of a novel T-type Ca2+ channel enhancer, SAK3 (ethyl 8′-methyl-2′, 4-dioxo-2-(piperidin-1-yl)-2′H-spiro [cyclopentane-1, 3′-imidazo [1, 2-a] pyridine]-2-ene-3-carboxylate) in an animal model of TAF1 ID syndrome. At post-natal day 3, rat pups were subjected to intracerebroventricular (ICV) injection of either gRNA-control or gRNA-TAF1 CRISPR/Cas9 viruses. At post-natal day 21 animals were given SAK3 (0.25 mg/kg, p.o.) or vehicle up to post-natal day 35 (i.e. 14 days). Rats were subjected to behavioral, morphological, electrophysiological, and molecular studies. Oral administration of SAK3 (0.25 mg/kg, p.o.) significantly rescued the behavior abnormalities in beam walking test and open field test caused by TAF1 gene editing. We observed an increase in calbindin-positive Purkinje cells and GFAP-positive astrocytes as well as a decrease in IBA1-positive microglia cells in SAK3-treated animals. In addition, SAK3 protected the Purkinje and granule cells from apoptosis induced by TAF-1 gene editing. SAK3 also restored the excitatory post synaptic current (sEPSCs) in TAF1 edited Purkinje cells. Finally, SAK3 normalized the BDNF/AKT signaling axis in TAF1 edited animals. Altogether, these observations suggest that SAK3 could be a novel therapeutic agent for TAF1 ID syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105006
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Cav3.1
  • Cerebellum
  • Intellectual disability syndrome
  • SAK3
  • TAF1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology


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