Synthetic Vitamin A Blocks Early MS In Mice

A team of researchers from the National Institute of Neuroscience in Tokyo, Japan has recently found that a synthetic form of vitamin A may be effective in treating the early symptoms of multiple sclerosis in mice. The researchers, led by Dr. Takahashi Yamamura and Dr. Shinji Oki, used the synthetic retinoid called AM80 to treat the early symptoms in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis.

Multiple sclerosis is a type of disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks the central nervous system and damaging the myelin, which acts as the insulating cover for the nerve fibers in the brain and the spinal cord. The ensuing damage makes communication between the brain and the other parts of the body. A certain type of immune cell called the Th17T has been found to play a role in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

Using a mouse model of MS, the researchers found out that using AM80, a synthetic molecule that is related to vitamin A, seems to inhibit the function of the Th17T immune cell without affecting the general immune system. This also seems to lead to the inhibition of the early symptoms associated with MS. The synthetic retinoid seem to help inhibit the early symptoms even after the disease have started in mice. But the AM80 did not seem to prevent the chronic symptoms associated with the disease.

The effects that AM80 showed in the mouse model can make it as a possible option for an intervention strategy for the acute phase of autoimmune diseases such as MS.

Source: American Journal of Pathology. "AM80 Blocks Early Multiple Sclerosis in Mice." ScienceDaily 22 May 2009. 26 May 2009

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