Type 2 Diabetes is a major public health threat, and its prevalence is increasing worldwide. The abnormal accumulation of islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP) in pancreatic β-cells is associated with the onset of the disease. Therefore, the design of small molecules able to inhibit IAPP aggregation represents a promising strategy in the development of new therapies. Here we employ in vitro, biophysical, and computational methods to inspect the ability of Silybin A and Silybin B, two natural diastereoisomers extracted from milk thistle, to interfere with the toxic self-assembly of human IAPP (hIAPP). We show that Silybin B inhibits amyloid aggregation and protects INS-1 cells from hIAPP toxicity more than Silybin A. Molecular dynamics simulations revealed that the higher efficiency of Silybin B is ascribable to its interactions with precise hIAPP regions that are notoriously involved in hIAPP self-assembly i.e., the S20-S29 amyloidogenic core, H18, the N-terminal domain, and N35. These results highlight the importance of stereospecific ligand-peptide interactions in regulating amyloid aggregation and provide a blueprint for future studies aimed at designing Silybin derivatives with enhanced drug-like properties.
Keywords: Aggregation; Diabetes; Inhibitors; Molecular dynamics; Peptide