January 18, 2019 (Medical News Today)
A small molecule-type treatment may delay the damage that multiple sclerosis (MS) inflicts in the brain and in other parts of the central nervous system (CNS).
A small molecule, known as Sephin1, prolongs “an inbuilt” integrated stress response (ISR), which reduces the damage inflammation inflicts on myelin-producing cells, or oligodendrocytes.
While most current treatments for MS try to reduce inflammation attacks on myelin and oligodendrocytes, in turn, they end up weakening the immune system, which may raise more risk in the body.
This current state of treatments for MS has motivated scientists to explore alternative therapies that, instead, help cells which are affected by MS to resist damage inflammation inflicts upon them.
Interestingly, previous tests have uncovered that guanabenz, a high blood pressure drug, can enhance ISR in oligodendrocytes, but not without negative side effects. In their study, researchers discovered that Sephin1, which is a derivative of guanabenz, can also enhance ISR in oligodendrocytes but without the adverse side effects that guanabenz has been known to cause.
The researchers then tested Sephin1 in a mouse model and found that it “delayed clinical symptoms” of MS. They also found that it could reduce the overpowering immune response that is a distinct feature of MS, and thus, reduce symptoms.
After their study, researchers concluded that a “neuroprotective treatment based on the enhancement of the ISR would likely have a significant therapeutic value” for patients suffering from MS.
Findings from this study can now be found in the journal Brain.