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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 278493, 13 pages
Research Article

Potential Retinoid X Receptor Agonists for Treating Alzheimer’s Disease from Traditional Chinese Medicine

1School of Pharmacy, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
2School of Medicine, College of Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
3Department of Biomedical Informatics, Asia University, Taichung 41354, Taiwan

Received 4 December 2013; Accepted 4 January 2014; Published 30 April 2014

Academic Editor: Fuu-Jen Tsai

Copyright © 2014 Kuan-Chung Chen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Alzheimer’s disease is neurodegenerative disorder due to the accumulation of amyloid-β in the brain and causes dementia with ageing. Some researches indicate that the RXR agonist, Targretin, has also been used for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease in mouse models. We investigate the potent candidates as RXR agonists from the vast repertoire of TCM compounds in TCM Database@Taiwan. The potential TCM compounds, β-lipoic acid and sulfanilic acid, had higher potent binding affinities than both 9-cis-retinoic acid and Targretin in docking simulation and have stable H-bonds with residues Arg316 and some equivalent hydrophobic contacts with residues Ala272, Gln275, Leu309, Phe313, Val342, Ile345, and Cys432 as Targretin. The carboxyl or sulfonyl hydroxide group can form a H-bond with key residue Arg316 in the docking pose, and the phenyl group next to the carboxyl or sulfonyl hydroxide group can form a π interaction with residue Phe313. Moreover, β-lipoic acid and sulfanilic acid have stable H-bonds with residue Gln275, Ser313, and residue Ala327, respectively, which may strengthen and stabilize TCM candidates inside the binding domain of RXR protein. Hence, we propose β-lipoic acid and sulfanilic acid as potential lead compounds for further study in drug development process with the RXR protein against Alzheimer’s disease.