Skip to main content
Funded Studies

Investigating the Neuroprotective Potential and Mechanism of Action of an Inhibitor of the Rho-associated Protein Kinase (ROCK)

Study Rationale: Altered signaling through the Rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK) pathway has been found to play a role in the cellular pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Previously, we demonstrated that inhibition of ROCK with the compound KL-00974 can protect dopamine-producing neurons from toxic effects of alpha-synuclein aggregation. In this study, we will determine the optimal dosage and administration protocol for using KL-00974 to target ROCK in the brain.

Hypothesis: Daily administration of optimized dosing of KL-00974 will mitigate the overproduction of alpha-synuclein and the toxicity and degeneration induced by preformed alpha-synuclein aggregates.

Study Design: We will leverage the particular strengths of two different preclinical alpha-synuclein PD models to determine the mechanism and potential of KL-00974 to provide neuroprotection for dopamine-producing neurons in the brain.

Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s disease: Positive results in this proposal could lead to the identification of a novel pharmacologic compound for disease modification in PD.

Next Steps for Development: Success in this proposal will lead to an application to the FDA to move forward to human testing of KL-00974 for the treatment of PD.


  • Caryl E. Sortwell, PhD

    Grand Rapids, MI United States

  • Jeffrey P. MacKeigen, PhD

    Grand Rapids, MI United States

We use cookies to ensure that you get the best experience. By continuing to use this website, you indicate that you have read our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.