Research ArticleMultiple Sclerosis

Melanocortin-1 receptor activation is neuroprotective in mouse models of neuroinflammatory disease

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Science Translational Medicine  26 Oct 2016:
Vol. 8, Issue 362, pp. 362ra146
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf8732

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A repurposed drug for neuroinflammatory disease

Treatment of inflammation-associated progressive neurodegenerative disorders, such as relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis, is challenging. In a new study, Mykicki et al. demonstrate that the drug NDP-MSH, currently approved for treating porphyria, showed potent anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects in two mouse models of neuroinflammatory disease. The drug, acting via the melanocortin-1 and orphan nuclear 4 receptors, prevented neuronal cell death by inducing regulatory T cells and preventing the infiltration of pathogenic T cells into the central nervous system.