Glutamate and Multiple Sclerosis

Authors: Frigo, M.; G. Cogo, M.; L. Fusco, M.; Gardinetti, M.; Frigeni, B.

Source: Current Medicinal Chemistry, Volume 19, Number 9, March 2012 , pp. 1295-1299(5)

Publisher: Bentham Science Publishers

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) has been considered for a long time a typical inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system due to autoimmunity targeting oligodendrocytes with sparing of axons until advanced stages of the disease. For this reason, most of the earliest experimental studies focused on the role of cytokines and chemokines at the site of oligodendrocytes loss and on the importance in MS pathogenesis of classical inflammatory mechanisms. As a result, several attempts to treat MS through reduction of the local inflammatory milieau have been performed, leading to the current “immunomodulatory” treatment of the disease. However, more recently the importance of axonal loss and neurodegeneration even in the earliest stages of MS has been also recognized, and additional or concomitant players have been therefore searched. Evidence is now increasing that excessive glutamate is released at the site of demyelination and axonal degeneration in MS plaques, and the most probable candidates for this cellular release are infiltrating leukocytes and activated microglia. These observations are no longer simply preclinical results obtained in the MS animal model, i.e. experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, but have already been partially confirmed by post-mortem studies and in vivo analysis in MS patients, thus raising the possibility that modulation of glutamate release and transport as well as receptors blockade might be relevant targets for the development of future therapeutic interventions.

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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