More MS news articles for Jan 2002

DHEA Suppresses Experimental Multiple Sclerosis

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jan 02 - In mice, the administration of exogenous dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) inhibited Th1-mediated inflammatory responses and prevented the development of experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS).

A trio of researchers led by Dr. Caigan Du of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville reports the finding in the December 15th issue of the Journal of Immunology.

In in vitro experiments, the investigators found that the addition of DHEA to cultured splenocytes primed with myelin basic protein led to a "significant" decrease in T cell proliferation and secretion of nitric oxide and the pro-inflammatory cytokines interferon-gamma, interleukin-12, p40, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha.

These effects were associated with a decrease in activation and translocation of the NF-kappa-B nuclear transcriptional factor, required elements for the expression of several pro-inflammatory cytokines.

In vivo administration of DHEA had similar effects, leading to a marked reduction in the severity and incidence of acute EAE, "along with a decrease in demyelination/inflammation and expressions of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the CNS."

These findings, Dr. Du and colleagues conclude, show that DHEA has potent anti-inflammatory effects, mediated in part by its ability to inhibit NF-kappa-B activation. "Because DHEA does not possess the undesirable side effects of glucocorticoids, it has the potential to be applied to the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases in the CNS such as MS," they add.

J Immunol 2001;167:7094-7101.

Copyright © 2001 Reuters Ltd