Remyelination failure is considered a major obstacle in treating chronic-progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). Studies have shown blockage in the differentiation of resident oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPC) into myelin-forming cells, suggesting that pushing OPC into a differentiation program might be sufficient to overcome remyelination failure. Others stressed the need for a permissive environment to allow proper activation, migration, and differentiation of OPC. PD0325901, a MAPK/ERK inhibitor, was previously shown to induce OPC differentiation, non-specific immunosuppression, and a significant therapeutic effect in acute demyelinating MS models. We examined PD0325901 effects in the chronically inflamed central nervous system. Treatment with PD0325901 induced OPC differentiation into mature oligodendrocytes with high morphological complexity. However, treatment of Biozzi mice with chronic-progressive experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis with PD0325901 showed no clinical improvement in comparison to the control group, no reduction in demyelination, nor induction of OPC migration into foci of demyelination. PD0325901 induced a direct general immunosuppressive effect on various cell populations, leading to a diminished phagocytic capability of microglia and less activation of lymph-node cells. It also significantly impaired the immune-modulatory functions of OPC. Our findings suggest OPC regenerative function depends on a permissive environment, which may include pro-regenerative inflammatory elements. Furthermore, they indicate that maintaining a delicate balance between the pro-myelinating and immune functions of OPC is of importance. Thus, the highly complex mission of creating a pro-regenerative environment depends upon an appropriate immune response controlled in time, place, and intensity. We suggest the need to employ a multi-systematic therapeutic approach, which cannot be achieved through a single molecule-based therapy.
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- multiple sclerosis