Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

The triphenylmethane dye brilliant blue G is only moderately effective at inhibiting amyloid formation by human amylin or at disaggregating amylin amyloid fibrils, but interferes with amyloid assays; Implications for inhibitor design.


The development of inhibitors of islet amyloid formation is important as pancreatic amyloid deposition contributes to type-2 diabetes and islet transplant failure. The Alzheimer's Aβ peptide and human amylin (h-amylin), the polypeptide responsible for amyloid formation in type-2 diabetes, share common physio-chemical features and some inhibitors of Aβ also inhibit amyloid formation by h-amylin and vice versa. Thus, a popular and potentially useful strategy to find lead compounds for anti-amylin amyloid agents is to examine compounds that have effects on Aβ amyloid formation. The triphenylmethane dye, brilliant blue G (BBG, Sodium;3-[[4-[(E)-[4-(4-ethoxyanilino)phenyl]-[4-[ethyl-[(3-sulfonatophenyl)methyl]azaniumylidene]-2-methylcyclohexa-2,5-dien-1-ylidene]methyl]-N-ethyl-3-methylanilino]methyl]benzenesulfonate) has been shown to modulate Aβ amyloid formation and inhibit Aβ induced toxicity. However, the effects of BBG on h-amylin have not been examined, although other triphenylmethane derivatives inhibit h-amylin amyloid formation. The compound has only a modest impact on h-amylin amyloid formation unless it is added in significant excess. BBG also remodels preformed h-amylin amyloid fibrils if added in excess, however BBG has no significant effect on h-amylin induced toxicity towards cultured β-cells or cultured CHO-T cells except at high concentrations. BBG is shown to interfere with standard thioflavin-T assays of h-amylin amyloid formation and disaggregation, highlighting the difficulty of interpreting such experiments in the absence of other measurements. BBG also interferes with ANS based assays of h-amylin amyloid formation. The work highlights the differences between inhibition of Aβ and h-amylin amyloid formation, illustrates the limitation of using Aβ inhibitors as leads for h-amylin amyloid inhibitors, and reinforces the difficulties in interpreting dye binding assays of amyloid formation.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View