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Mult Scler. 2014 Jan;20(1):3-11. doi: 10.1177/1352458513512709. Epub 2013 Nov 21.

Using magnetic resonance imaging in animal models to guide drug development in multiple sclerosis.

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Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary, Canada.


Major advances are taking place in the development of therapeutics for multiple sclerosis (MS), with a move past traditional immunomodulatory/immunosuppressive therapies toward medications aimed at promoting remyelination or neuroprotection. With an increase in diversity of MS therapies comes the need to assess the effectiveness of such therapies. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the main tools used to evaluate the effectiveness of MS therapeutics in clinical trials. As all new therapeutics for MS are tested in animal models first, it is logical that MRI be incorporated into preclinical studies assessing therapeutics. Here, we review key papers showing how MR imaging has been combined with a range of animal models to evaluate potential therapeutics for MS. We also advise on how to maximize the potential for incorporating MRI into preclinical studies evaluating possible therapeutics for MS, which should improve the likelihood of discovering new medications for the condition.


Magnetic resonance imaging; Theiler’s murine encephalomyelitis virus; cuprizone; disease-modifying therapies; experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; lysolecithin

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