Prog Brain Res. 2004; 146: 415-32
Max-Planck-Institute for Experimental Medicine, RU Neural Regeneration, H.-Reinstr. 3, D-37075 Gottingen, Germany
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a common neurological disease, which affects young adults.
Its course is unpredictable and runs over decades.
It is considered as an autoimmune disease, and is neuropathologically characterized by demyelination, variable loss of oligodendroglial cells, and axonal degeneration.
Demyelination provides a permitting condition for axonal degeneration, which seems to be causative of permanent neurological deficits.
Hence, the current treatment, which works preferentially immunmodulatory, should be complemented by therapeutics, which improves remyelination not only for restoring conduction velocity but also for preventing an irreversible axonal damage.
One strategy to achieve this aim would be to promote remyelination by stimulating oligodendroglial cells remaining in MS lesions.
While central nervous system neurons were already known to respond to neurotrophins (NT), interactions with glial cells became apparent more recently.
In vitro and in vivo studies have shown that NT influence proliferation, differentiation, survival, and regeneration of mature oligodendrocytes and oligodendroglial precursors in favor of a myelin repair.
Two in vivo models provided direct evidence that NT can improve remyelination.
In addition, their neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory role would support a repair.
Hence, a wealth of data point to NT as promising therapeutical candidates.