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Autoimmune disease

Multiple sclerosis (MS)

Activin A

Mouse and in vitro studies suggest activin A
could help promote remyelination in MS. In mice subjected to localized, chemical-induced demyelination, initiation of remyelination was associated with microglia and macrophages switching from a proinflammatory M1 state to an anti-inflammatory M2 state. In cultured oligodendrocyte precursors (OPCs), M2-specific activin A was sufficient to enhance differentiation, which is important for remyelination. In cultured OPCs and in
ex vivo cerebellar slice cultures, activin A-
blocking antibodies decreased OPC differentiation compared with control IgG. Next steps include identifying specific receptor subtypes and signaling pathways mediating the effects of activin A in mouse OPCs.

SciBX 6(32); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.850
Published online Aug. 22, 2013

Patent application filed; licensing status not applicable

Miron, V.E. et al. Nat. Neurosci.; published online July 21, 2013;
Contact: Veronique E. Miron, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, U.K.