Founded by the Institut de Neurociencies of the University of Barcelona, a team tries to reduce chronic inflammation associated with multiple sclerosis in mice by using a type of lipid that inhibits inflammation. The team concluded that these sorts of mediator substances, known as "diseasers," are reduced in individuals with multiple sclerosis as well as in animal models of the disease. The use of these mediators might be a viable strategy for treating this autoimmune disease.
Acute inflammation is a protective response to infection that stimulates tissue regeneration after injury. Once its function has been completed, a series of mechanisms regulated by lipids acting as mediators are responsible for resolving it. An error in the resolution response results in uncontrolled inflammation that is detrimental to the tissues. In multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disorder in which the body''s defense cells attack the tail of neurons (myelin), inflammation is persistent and plays a vital role in the development of the disease.
A research team led by Ruben Lopez-Vales, a professor of physiology at the UAB, and a researcher at the Neuroplasticity and Regeneration Group, has managed to reduce chronic inflammation associated with multiple sclerosis in a mice model of the disease, by administering one of the resolving lipid mediators of inflammation, Maresin-1. This substance exerted a therapeutic effect on mice, significantly reduced the amount of proteins involved in inflammation, as well as the number of cells in the brain
Researchers investigated samples from patients with multiple sclerosis and from mice models and found that there was inadequate production of Maresin-1 and other lipid mediators that blocked inflammation. These immunosuppressive drugs, which were nearly undetectable, prevented the inflammatory process from ending.
"Our findings suggest that one of the body''s mechanisms for resolving inflammation is not working properly in patients with multiple sclerosis, which might partly explain their autoimmunity episodes," said Dr. Lopez-Vales.
The study, conducted in collaboration with the University of Montreal and the Universidad de La Republica in Uruguay, outlines the use of inflammation mediators as a powerful and promising strategy for treating multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.
Lopez-Vales says that the next steps will be a series of experiments and tests to demonstrate the safety of the administration of this lipid, which may be used to evaluate potential efficacy studies in humans.