Molecular Effects of FDA-Approved Multiple Sclerosis Drugs on Glial Cells and Neurons of the Central Nervous System

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is characterized by peripheral and central inflammatory features, as well as demyelination and neurodegeneration. The available Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs for MS have been designed to suppress the peripheral immune system. In addition, however, the effects of these drugs may be partially attributed to their influence on glial cells and neurons of the central nervous system (CNS). We here describe the molecular effects of the traditional and more recent FDA-approved MS drugs Fingolimod, Dimethyl Fumarate, Glatiramer Acetate, Interferon-β, Teriflunomide, Laquinimod, Natalizumab, Alemtuzumab and Ocrelizumab on microglia, astrocytes, neurons and oligodendrocytes. Furthermore, we point to a possible common molecular effect of these drugs, namely a key role for NFκB signaling, causing a switch from pro-inflammatory microglia and astrocytes to anti-inflammatory phenotypes of these CNS cell types that recently emerged as central players in MS pathogenesis. This notion argues for the need to further explore the molecular mechanisms underlying MS drug action.

More about this NDR research can be read in the Open Access journal International Journal of Molecular Sciences:

A reappraisal of Human HOG and MO3.13 Cell Lines as a Model to Study Oligodendrocyte Functioning.

Myelination of neuronal axons is essential for proper brain functioning and requires mature myelinating oligodendrocytes (myOLs). The human OL cell lines HOG and MO3.13 have been widely used as in vitro models to study OL (dys) functioning. Here we applied a number of protocols aimed at differentiating HOG and MO3.13 cells into myOLs. However, none of the differentiation protocols led to increased expression of terminal OL differentiation or myelin-sheath formation markers. Surprisingly, the applied protocols did cause changes in the expression of markers for early OLs, neurons, astrocytes and Schwann cells. Furthermore, we noticed that mRNA expression levels in HOG and MO3.13 cells may be affected by the density of the cultured cells. Finally, HOG and MO3.13 co-cultured with human neuronal SH-SY5Y cells did not show myelin formation under several pro-OL-differentiation and pro-myelinating conditions. Together, our results illustrate the difficulty of inducing maturation of HOG and MO3.13 cells into myOLs, implying that these oligodendrocytic cell lines may not represent an appropriate model to study the (dys)functioning of human (my)OLs and OL-linked disease mechanisms.

More about this NDR research can be read in the Open Access journal Cells: