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More MS news articles for May 2004

Cell-based remyelinating therapies in multiple sclerosis: evidence from experimental studies

Curr Opin Neurol. 2004 Jun;17(3):247-55
Pluchino S, Furlan R, Martino G.
Neuroimmunology Unit - Department of Biotechnology (DIBIT) and Department of Neurology and Neurophysiology, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.


Spontaneous remyelination occurs in the central nervous system of patients with multiple sclerosis.

However, this process is not robust enough to promote a functional and stable recovery of the myelin architecture.

The development of cell-based therapies, aimed at promoting multifocal remyelination, is therefore foreseen.


Several experimental cell-based strategies aimed at replacing damaged myelin-forming cells have been developed in the last few years.

However, most of these therapeutic approaches - although consistently able to form new myelin sheaths at the transplantation site - are unfeasible owing to the mutifocality of the demyelinating process in multiple sclerosis patients and the inability to grow and produce large numbers of differentiated myelin-forming cells in vitro.

Stem cell-based therapies that partially overcome these limitations have been proposed recently.


Stem cell-based remyelinating therapies can be considered a plausible alternative strategy in immune-mediated demyelinating disorders.

However, before any potential applications in patients with multiple sclerosis can be envisaged, it is necessary to confront the following preliminary, and still unsolved, questions:

(1) the ideal stem cell source for transplantation;

(2) the most appropriate route of stem cell administration; and, last but not least,

(3) the best approach for achieving an appropriate, functional and long-lasting integration of transplanted stem cells into the host tissue.