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Biochem Pharmacol. 2011 Nov 15;82(10):1490-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2011.07.092. Epub 2011 Jul 30.

Redox regulation of cellular stress response in multiple sclerosis.

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Department of Neuroscience, University of Catania, I-95125 Catania, Italy.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune-mediated neurodegenerative disease with characteristic foci of inflammatory demyelination in the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Recent studies have demonstrated not only that axonal damage and neuronal loss are significant pathologic components of MS, but that this neuronal damage is thought to cause the permanent neurologic disability often seen in MS patients. Emerging finding suggests that altered redox homeostasis and increased oxidative stress, primarily implicated in the pathogenesis of MS, are a trigger for activation of a brain stress response. Relevant to maintenance of redox homeostasis, integrated mechanisms controlled by vitagenes operate in brain in preserving neuronal survival during stressful conditions. Vitagenes encode for heat shock proteins (Hsp) Hsp32, Hsp70, the thioredoxin and the sirtuin protein systems. In the present study we assess stress response mechanisms in the CSF, plasma and lymphocytes of control patients compared to MS patients. We found that the levels of vitagenes Hsp72, Hsc70, HO-1, as well as oxidative stress markers carbonyls and hydroxynonenals were significantly higher in the blood and CSF of MS patients than in control patients. In addition, an increased expression of Trx and sirtuin 1, together with a decrease in the expression of TrxR were observed. Our data strongly support a pivotal role for redox homeostasis disruption in the pathogenesis of MS and, consistently with the notion that new therapies that prevent neurodegeneration through nonimmunomodulatory mechanisms can have a tremendous potential to work synergistically with current MS therapies, unravel important targets for new cytoprotective strategies.

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