Publication date: Mar 21, 2020
Drugs able to counteract progressive multiple sclerosis (PMS) represent a largely unmet therapeutic need. Even though the pathogenesis of disease evolution is still obscure, accumulating evidence indicates that mitochondrial dysfunction plays a causative role in neurodegeneration and axonopathy in PMS patients. Here, we investigated the effects of dexpramipexole, a compound with a good safety profile in humans and able to sustain mitochondria functioning and energy production, in a mouse model of PMS.
Female Non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice were immunized with MOG . Functional, immune and neuropathological parameters were analyzed during disease evolution in animals treated or not with dexpramipexole. The compound’s effects on bioenergetics and neuroprotection were also evaluated in vitro.
We found that oral treatment with dexpramipexole at a dose consistent with that well tolerated in humans delayed disability progression, extended survival, counteracted reduction of spinal cord mitochondrial DNA content and reduced spinal cord axonal loss of mice. Accordingly, the drug sustained in vitro bioenergetics of mouse optic nerve and dorsal root ganglia, and counteracted neurodegeneration of organotypic mouse cortical cultures exposed to the adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-depleting agents oligomycin or veratridine. Dexpramipexole, however, was unable to affect the adaptive and innate immune responses both in vivo and in vitro.
The present findings corroborate the hypothesis that neuroprotective agents may be of relevance to counteract MS progression, and disclose the translational potential of dexpramipexole to treatment of PMS patients as a stand-alone or adjunctive therapy.
Buonvicino, D., Ranieri, G., Pratesi, S., Gerace, E., Muzzi, M., Guasti, D., Tofani, L., and Chiarugi, A. Neuroprotection Induced by Dexpramipexole Delays Disease Progression in a Mouse Model of Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. 20507. 2020 Br J Pharmacol.