An inflammation-mediating lipid has shown promise in reducing multiple sclerosis-related inflammation in mice. The corresponding study was published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation.
Acute inflammation is a protective response to infection. After being triggered and responding to any potential threats, a series of mechanisms regulated by lipids known as specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs) clear it up. An error in this 'clear-up' response can lead to uncontrolled inflammation that goes on to damaged tissues.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune cells attack the protective myelin sheaths around neurons and inhibit their communication ability. Inflammation is thus a crucial aspect of this condition.
In the present study, researchers noted that both patients with MS and mouse models of MS produce insufficient levels of lipid mediators, including Maresin-1 (MaR1). They administered MaR1 to mouse models of MS to see whether it could relieve symptoms.
The researchers found that mice who received MaR1 had reduced levels of various pro-inflammatory cytokines and immune cell counts in their spinal cord and blood. Overall, they noted that MaR1 gave clear signals of enhanced neurological outcomes and protection from demyelination.
“This study reveals that there is an imbalance in the production of SPMs in MS patients and in [mouse models of MS], and that increasing the bioavailability of SPMs, such as MaR1, minimizes inflammation and mediates therapeutic actions,” wrote the researchers in their paper.
“Thus, these data suggest that immunoresolvent therapies, such as MaR1, could be a novel avenue for the treatment of MS,” they concluded.
The researchers now hope to conduct a series of tests and experiments to see whether this lipid could be safely delivered to patients. If so, they may be able to take their findings to clinical trials.