More mileage out of myelin

A team led by U.K. researchers has shown that retinoid X receptor

agonists can enhance remyelination of demyelinated axons in rodents by increasing the differentiation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells into oligodendrocytes.1 This remyelination activity could spark interest in repurposing the agonists, which are on the market and in the clinic for cancer.

In individuals with demyelinating disease such as multiple sclerosis (MS), loss of myelin is often repaired by a natural regenerative process in which a type of stem cell called adult oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) migrate to injured areas, differentiate into oligodendrocytes and restore myelin. However, as the disease progresses, the process of rebuilding is unable to keep pace with the disease-induceddamage, leading to chronic lesions and neurologic deterioration.

The team came across RXRs as part of a search for key genes involved in CNS remyelination. In rodents whose axons had

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