An antioxidant drug that was originally developed a dozen years ago to repair cell damage has been found to significantly reverse multiple sclerosis-like disease in rats.
To conduct their study, the researchers led by P. Hemachandra Reddy, Ph.D., an associate scientist in the Division of Neuroscience at OHSU's Oregon National Primate Research Center, induced mice to contract a disease called experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, or EAE, which is very similar to MS in humans.
They separated mice into four groups: a group with EAE only; a group that was given the EAE, then treated with the MitoQ; a third group that was given the MitoQ first, then given the EAE; and a fourth "control" group of mice without EAE and without any other treatment.
After 14 days, the EAE mice that had been treated with the MitoQ exhibited reduced inflammatory markers and increased neuronal activity in the spinal cord - an affected brain region in MS - that showed their EAE symptoms were being improved by the treatment.
The mice also showed reduced loss of axons, or nerve fibers and reduced neurological disabilities associated with the EAE. The mice that had been pre-treated with the MitoQ showed the least problems.
The mice that had been treated with MitoQ after EAE also showed many fewer problems than mice who were just induced to get the EAE and then given no treatment.
The research has been published in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta Molecular Basis of Disease.