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Medical research: Drug offers potential treatment for multiple sclerosis

Nature Communications

April 27, 2016

Fluorosamine, a recently-discovered compound not yet approved for human use, may be useful in treating multiple sclerosis, finds a study in mice published in Nature Communications this week.

Multiple sclerosis is caused by damage to myelin - a mixture of lipids and proteins that form the insulating sleeves which wrap around neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Specific molecular signals acting around the site of neural injury known as chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) are one of the roadblocks to myelin regeneration, because they prevent the growth and function of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs), the cells that eventually give rise to myelin production.

Wee Yong and colleagues tested 245 drugs in order to find those that allow OPC growth to take place in the presence of CSPGs. They identified one, fluorosamine, which can reduce production of CSPGs and aid OPC growth in mouse cells. The same drug is also shown to improve myelin generation and limb paralysis when injected into a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (experiments took place across two groups of seven to eight mice). Further studies are required to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of this new treatment before it can be used in humans.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms11312

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