Pharmacological Rescue with SR8278, a Circadian Nuclear Receptor REV-ERBα Antagonist as a Therapy for Mood Disorders in Parkinson’s Disease

Jeongah Kim, Inah Park, Sangwon Jang, Mijung Choi, Doyeon Kim, Woong Sun, Youngshik Choe, Ji Woong Choi, Cheil Moon, Sung Ho Park, Han Kyoung Choe, Kyungjin Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive dopaminergic neuronal loss. Motor deficits experienced by patients with Parkinson’s disease are well documented, but non-motor symptoms, including mood disorders associated with circadian disturbances, are also frequent features. One common phenomenon is “sundowning syndrome,” which is characterized by the occurrence of neuropsychiatric symptoms at a specific time (dusk), causing severe quality of life challenges. This study aimed to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of sundowning syndrome in Parkinson’s disease and their molecular links with the circadian clock. We demonstrated that 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-lesioned mice, as Parkinson’s disease mouse model, exhibit increased depression- and anxiety-like behaviors only at dawn (the equivalent of dusk in human). Administration of REV-ERBα antagonist, SR8278, exerted antidepressant and anxiolytic effects in a circadian time-dependent manner in 6-OHDA-lesioned mice and restored the circadian rhythm of mood-related behaviors. 6-OHDA-lesion altered DAergic-specific Rev-erbα and Nurr1 transcription, and atypical binding activities of REV-ERBα and NURR1, which are upstream nuclear receptors for the discrete tyrosine hydroxylase promoter region. SR8278 treatment restored the binding activities of REV-ERBα and NURR1 to the tyrosine hydroxylase promoter and the induction of enrichment of the R/N motif, recognized by REV-ERBα and NURR1, as revealed by ATAC-sequencing; therefore, tyrosine hydroxylase expression was elevated in the ventral tegmental area of 6-OHDA-injected mice, especially at dawn. These results indicate that REV-ERBα is a potential therapeutic target, and its antagonist, SR8278, is a potential drug for mood disorders related to circadian disturbances, namely sundowning syndrome, in Parkinson’s disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)592-607
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar


  • Circadian mood regulation
  • Dopaminergic neuronal loss
  • Nurr1
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Rev-erbα
  • Sundowning syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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