A Cure for Multiple Sclerosis?

A Cure for Multiple Sclerosis?

Author: Melania Tesio

The destruction of myelin, a protective sheet covering neurons, causes the development of a disease known as multiple sclerosis. This illness is severe and incurable; although many drugs mitigate the symptoms, none repairs the damaged myelin.

Vishal Deshmukh, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA, and colleagues demonstrated that benztropine (pictured), a drug already used to treat Parkinson’s disease, promotes the maturation of myelin-producing cells from their neuronal precursors, oligodendrocytes. This effect was due to the ability of benztropine to antagonize the muscarinic receptors for acetilcoline, a neurotransmitter that regulates oligodendrocytes proliferation and development.

As a consequence, benztropine therapy promoted myelin repair in two pre-clinical models of multiple sclerosis, raising new hopes for the cure for this disease.

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