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Multiple sclerosis: a composite treatment to repair damaged nerve fibres

A team of researchers led by Brahim Nait Oumesmar, Inserm Research Director at the PITIE-SALPETRIERE NEUROSCIENCES RESEARCH CENTER (CRICM) in collaboration with the University of Luxembourg, has just discovered a new molecule capable of stimulating the repair of the myelin destroyed in experimental models of multiple sclerosis. This advance will be published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is the most frequent cause of disability in young adults [1]. The condition is characterised by inflammatory lesions in the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. It is considered to be an auto-immune disease. In MS sufferers, the defence system becomes disordered. Instead of fighting external pathogens, the immune system attacks its own cells.

MS destroys the myelin sheaths surrounding the neurons that carry information. Chronic lesions appear characterised by a loss of the nerve fibres. Although the causes of MS are still unknown, current treatments are mainly directed at modulating the immune response and have very little impact on the repair of the myelin sheaths (or remyelinisation). Finding treatments designed to stimulate remyelinisation is thus a major new research direction for MS. Remyelinisation might make it possible to re-establish nerve conduction and prevent the condition of MS sufferers from deteriorating further.

The research team headed by Brahim Nait Oumesmar, Inserm research director at the PITIE-SALPETRIERE NEUROSCIENCES RESEARCH CENTER (CRICM) in collaboration with the University of Luxembourg, has identified a new synthesising molecule capable of stimulating the repair of myelin lesions in experimental models of MS.

This synthesis molecule, known as TFA-12, is part of a derivative of vitamin E.

Their work has shown that TFA-12 both reduces the formation of inflammatory lesions but, above all, favours the repair of myelin lesions.

Research has also shown that this molecule stimulates the regeneration of the oligodendrocytes, the cells that are the origin of myelin synthesis in the central nervous system.  This work will thus enable the development of new pharmacological strategies, promoting the remyelinisation of the neurons in cases of MS.

Schéma fonctionnement sclérose en plaques

[1] The average age at which the symptoms first appear is thirty, and the condition affects more women than men. There are 80,000 MS sufferers in France.

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Researcher Contact

Brahim Nait Oumesmar Centre de Recherche de l’Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Epinière – CRICM INSERM U.975, UPMC UMR-S975, CNRS UMR 7225 01 57 27 41 24 email: rf.cmpu@ramsemuo_tian.miharb


Tocopherol derivative TFA-12 promotes myelin repair in experimental models of Multiple Sclerosis. Benoit Blanchard, Tony Heurtaux, Corina Garcia, Natalia M. Moll, Celine Caillava, Luc Grandbarbe, Armelle Klosptein, Christophe Kerninon, Magali Frah, Djalil Coowar, Anne Baron-Van Evercooren, Eleonora Morga, Paul Heuschling and Brahim Nait Oumesmar The Journal of Neuroscience