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Vitamin B12 enhances effects of interferon-beta in mice

July 9, 2004
Drug Week

Vitamin B12 enhances effects of interferon-beta in mice

A synthetic form of vitamin B enhances the effects of IFN-beta in a murine model of multiple sclerosis.

"Interferon-beta is a mainstay therapy of demyelinating diseases, but its effects are incomplete in human multiple sclerosis and several of its animal models," immunologists in Canada explained.

In their study, F.G. Mastronardi and colleagues at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto achieved "dramatic improvements of clinical, histological, and laboratory parameters in in vivo mouse models of demyelinating disease through combination therapy with IFN-beta plus vitamin B cyanocobalamin (BCN) in nonautoimmune primary demyelinating ND4 (DM20) transgenics, and in acute and chronic experimental autoinumme encephalomyelitis in SJL mice."

"Clinical improvement (p values<0.0001) was paralleled by near normal motor function, reduced astrocytosis, and reduced demyelination," published data showed. "IFN-beta plus BCN enhanced in vivo and in vitro oligodendrocyte maturation. In vivo and in vitro altered expression patterns of reduced Notch-1 and enhanced expression of sonic hedgehog and its receptor were consistent with oligodendrocyte maturation and remyelination."

"IFN-beta-BCN combination therapy may be promising for the treatment of multiple sclerosis," the researchers concluded.

Mastronardi and coauthors published their study in the Journal of Immunology (Attenuation of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and nonimmune demyelination by IFN-beta plus vitamin B-12: Treatment to modify notch-1/sonic hedgehog balance. J Immunol, 2004;172(10):6418-6426).

For additional information, contact M.A. Moscarello, Hospital for Sick Children, Department of Structural Biology and Biochemistry, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, ON M5G 1X8, Canada.

Publisher contact information for the Journal of Immunology is: American Association of Immunologists, 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20814 USA.

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