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The antioxidant idebenone fails to prevent or attenuate chronic experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in the mouse

Fiebiger, SM;Bros, H;Grobosch, T;Janssen, A;Chanvillard, C;Paul, F;Drr, J;Millward, JM;Infante-Duarte, C;

Oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction appear to contribute to neurodegenerative processes during multiple sclerosis (MS). Thus, antioxidants may represent a therapeutic option for MS. The antioxidant idebenone was proven to be beneficial in Friedreich’s ataxia and Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy, two disorders caused by mitochondrial alterations. Here we showed that idebenone protected neuronal HT22 cells from glutamate-induced death in vitro. However, in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, idebenone failed to affect disease incidence or onset when applied preventively, or to reduce disease severity when applied therapeutically. Histopathological examination of CNS from idebenone treated mice showed no improvement in inflammation, demyelination, or axonal damage. Thus, we hypothesize that idebenone treatment will likely not benefit patients with MS.