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Friday, October 16, 2009

Newly Published Data Show Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Glatiramer Acetate Promoted Remyelination of Damaged Axons

FACT SHEET – Newly Published Data Show Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Glatiramer Acetate Promoted Remyelination of Damaged Axons

· The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of glatiramer acetate on oligodendrogenesis (the formation of myelin-producing glial cells in the central nervous system) and myelin formation in damaged nerve cells in mice

· The mice were subjected to lysolecithin-induced demyelination of the spinal cord, then treated daily for seven days with a 2mg injection of glatiramer acetate

· After only three days, mice treated with glatiramer acetate experienced an increase in insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1)

· After seven days, and throughout the 28-day trial, resultant myelination was higher in mice treated with glatiramer acetate compared to control group

· These results suggest glatiramer acetate may promote oligodendrogenesis and myelin formation through elevation of neurotrophic growth factors that foster myelin repair, and that the long-term benefits from patients treated with glatiramer acetate may be, in part, due to remyelination

· The neuroprotective potential of glatiramer acetate has been previously suggested in pre-clinical and clinical trials of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS)

Glossary of terms:

Demyelination: a process through which myelin on nerve axons is stripped away or damaged. Repeated attacks on myelin can permanently damage the nerve axons, preventing normal nerve impulse transmission.

Neurotrophic Factors: small proteins that exert survival-promoting actions on nerve cells. During development, these factors play a critical role in mediating the ability of a target to prevent the death of the nerve cell. These include PDGF (Platelet-derived growth factor), IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor) and BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor).

Glial cells: non-neuronal cells that provide support and protection for neurons. Glial cells also are responsible for the formation of myelin and participate in signal transmission in the nervous system.

Multiple sclerosis (MS): a chronic, degenerative disease which is characterized by inflammation and demyelination in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). MS is an autoimmune disease in which patches of myelin and underlying nerve fibers in the eyes, brain, and spinal cord are damaged or destroyed. The exact cause of MS is not known. Symptoms are usually weakness, loss of coordination and speech - 000099002 and visual disturbances.

Myelin: an insulating layer that forms around nerves to allow rapid and efficient transmission of impulses along the nerve cells. If the myelin is damaged, the impulses slow down.

Oligodendrogenesis: the formation of myelin-producing glial cells in the central nervous system

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