Experimental and Therapeutic Opportunities for Stem Cells in Multiple Sclerosis

Rickie Patani, Siddharthan Chandran

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

Abstract

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating neurodegenerative disorder of the brain and spinal cord that causes significant disability in young adults. Although the precise aetiopathogenesis of MS remains unresolved, its pathological hallmarks include inflammation, demyelination, axonal injury (acute and chronic), astrogliosis and variable remyelination. Despite major recent advances in therapeutics for the early stage of the disease there are currently no disease modifying treatments for the progressive stage of disease, whose pathological substrate is axonal degeneration. This represents the great and unmet clinical need in MS. Against this background, human stem cells offer promise both to improve understanding of disease mechanism(s) through in-vitro modeling as well as potentially direct use to supplement and promote remyelination, an endogenous reparative process where entire myelin sheaths are restored to demyelinated axons. Conceptually, stem cells can act directly to myelinate axons or indirectly through different mechanisms to promote endogenous repair; importantly these two mechanisms of action are not mutually exclusive. We propose that discovery of novel methods to invoke or enhance remyelination in MS may be the most effective therapeutic strategy to limit axonal damage and instigate restoration of structure and function in this debilitating condition. Human stem cell derived neurons and glia, including patient specific cells derived through reprogramming, provide an unprecedented experimental system to model MS "in a dish" as well as enable high-throughput drug discovery. Finally, we speculate upon the potential role for stem cell based therapies in MS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14470-14491
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume13
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012

Keywords

  • OLIGODENDROCYTE PROGENITOR CELLS
  • WHITE-MATTER
  • OLFACTORY ENSHEATHING CELLS
  • embryonic stem cells (ESCs)
  • CENTRAL-NERVOUS-SYSTEM
  • PRECURSOR CELLS
  • ADULT CNS
  • SCHWANN-CELLS
  • neurodegenerative disease
  • pluripotent stem cells (PSCs)
  • induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)
  • ABNORMAL TAU PHOSPHORYLATION
  • SPINAL-CORD-INJURY
  • CHRONIC DEMYELINATION
  • multiple sclerosis (MS)

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