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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2016, Article ID 5056418, 12 pages
Research Article

Effects of Microtubule Stabilization by Epothilone B Depend on the Type and Age of Neurons

Eun-Hae Jang,1,2,3 Aeri Sim,1,2,3 Sun-Kyoung Im,1,3 and Eun-Mi Hur1,2,3

1Center for Neuroscience, Brain Science Institute, Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), Seoul, Republic of Korea
2Department of Neuroscience, Korea University of Science and Technology, Daejeon, Republic of Korea
3Convergence Research Center for Diagnosis, Treatment and Care System of Dementia, Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), Seoul, Republic of Korea

Received 17 June 2016; Revised 7 September 2016; Accepted 21 September 2016

Academic Editor: Shuxin Li

Copyright © 2016 Eun-Hae Jang 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.


Several studies have demonstrated the therapeutic potential of applying microtubule- (MT-) stabilizing agents (MSAs) that cross the blood-brain barrier to promote axon regeneration and prevent axonal dystrophy in rodent models of spinal cord injury and neurodegenerative diseases. Paradoxically, administration of MSAs, which have been widely prescribed to treat malignancies, is well known to cause debilitating peripheral neuropathy and axon degeneration. Despite the growing interest of applying MSAs to treat the injured or degenerating central nervous system (CNS), consequences of MSA exposure to neurons in the central and peripheral nervous system (PNS) have not been thoroughly investigated. Here, we have examined and compared the effects of a brain-penetrant MSA, epothilone B, on cortical and sensory neurons in culture and show that epothilone B exhibits both beneficial and detrimental effects, depending on not only the concentration of drug but also the type and age of a neuron, as seen in clinical settings. Therefore, to exploit MSAs to their full benefit and minimize unwanted side effects, it is important to understand the properties of neuronal MTs and strategies should be devised to deliver minimal effective concentration directly to the site where needed.