By Maureen Newman
Exploratory research conducted at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Illinois at Chicago may translate into a new therapeutic agent to treat progressive multiple sclerosis. Researchers in the laboratories of Dr. Jefferey L. Dupree and Dr. Douglas L. Feinstein tested a new compound in mice with induced multiple sclerosis and found that the compound reduced neurodegeneration and helped improve symptoms.
The compound, lanthionine ketimine, is a naturally occurring molecule that binds to collapsin response mediator protein-2 (CRMP2), which is a protein found in the brain that helps regulate vital neuronal activities. In order to use this compound to treat mice with induced multiple sclerosis, the researchers needed to chemically modify it into a cell-permeable state. The resulting molecule was lanthionine ketimine ethyl-ester (LKE), which was shown to promote neurogenesis and healthy nervous system function.