Anti-acetyl choline drug promotes remyelnation

Deshmukh VA, Tardif V, Lyssiotis CA, Green CC, Kerman B, Kim HJ, Padmanabhan K, Swoboda JG, Ahmad I, Kondo T, Gage FH, Theofilopoulos AN, Lawson BR, Schultz PG, Lairson LL. A regenerative approach to the treatment of multiple sclerosis.Nature. 2013 Oct. doi: 10.1038/nature12647. [Epub ahead of print]

Progressive phases of multiple sclerosis are associated with inhibited differentiation of the progenitor cell population that generates the mature oligodendrocytes required for remyelination and disease remission. To identify selective inducers of oligodendrocyte differentiation, we performed an image-based screen for myelin basic protein (MBP) expression using primary rat optic-nerve-derived progenitor cells. Here we show that among the most effective compounds identified was benztropine, which significantly decreases clinical severity in the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis when administered alone or in combination with approved immunosuppressive treatments for multiple sclerosis. 
Evidence from a cuprizone-induced model of demyelination, in vitro and in vivo T-cell assays and EAE adoptive transfer experiments indicated that the observed efficacy of this drug results directly from an enhancement of remyelination rather than immune suppression. Pharmacological studies indicate that benztropine functions by a mechanism that involves direct antagonism of M1 and/or M3 muscarinic receptors. These studies should facilitate the development of effective new therapies for the treatment of multiple sclerosis that complement established immunosuppressive approaches.

So the media are at it again and an "anti-Parkinson's Disease drug reverses multiple sclerosis!"..Great...but again the media do their stuff and over-egg the plot. 

This is about a study in both chemical and autoimmune demyelinating models in mice and is hardly the control of multiple sclerosis and it is hardly reversal as the do not do back to normal, but it is encouraging. 

Benzatropine is an anti-cholinergic (Blocks the aceytlcholine) drug used in patients to reduce the side effects of anti-psychotic treatment, such as parkinsonism and dystonia. This was found following a screen to look for drugs that promote myelination
by oligodendrocyte. 

The study suggests that the compound promoted remyelination and was apparently not immunosuppressive and could work with other compounds to augment the clinical benefit, which was attributed to be due to remyelination. 

Let's hope so, but I may need to change my view of how to interpret clinical EAE....or do they to do this?. It is interesting essentially no neurological disease yet the cords have just as much infiltration..........interesting.