In a small, double-blinded clinical trial, patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis were assigned to take pioglitazone (a drug commercially known as Actos used to treat type-2 diabetes) or a placebo. Patients continued their normal course of therapy during the trial.
Standard neurological tests were done initially, as were MRI scans to provide baseline values for lesions typically seen in MS patients. The patients were evaluated every two months, and blood samples were taken. Repeat MRI scans were done after five months and again after one year.
Patients taking pioglitazone showed significantly less loss of gray matter over the course of the one-year trial than patients taking placebo. Of the 21 patients who finished the study, patients taking pioglitazone had no adverse reactions and, further, found taking pioglitazone, which is administered in an oral tablet, easy.
"This is very encouraging," said Douglas Feinstein, research professor of anesthesiology at UIC. "Gray matter in the brain is the part that is rich in neurons. These preliminary results suggest that the drug has important effects on neuronal survival."
Feinstein's lab has been interested in the class of drugs called thiazolidinediones, or TZDs. Several TZDs have been approved for use in the treatment of type-2 diabetes because of the drugs' effect on the body's response to insulin.
The researchers focused on pioglitazone because of its known anti-inflammatory effects, Feinstein said. They used primary cultures of brain cells to show that pioglitazone reduced the production of toxic chemicals called cytokines and reactive oxygen species. These molecules are believed to be important in the development of symptoms in MS.
Feinstein's lab proceeded to test pioglitazone in an animal model of MS. They and others showed that pioglitazone and other TZDs "can significantly reduce the clinical signs in mice with an MS-type disease," said Feinstein.
"More importantly, when mice who are already ill are treated with pioglitazone, the clinical signs of the disease go away," he said. "We were able to induce almost complete remissions in a number of mice."
"We are now working to determine the mechanisms to explain the protective effect on neurons that we see in our studies," said Feinstein. "We hope to expand into a larger trial to confirm these preliminary results."
Claudia C. Kaiser, who was a post-doctoral student at UIC, is first author on the paper. Other authors are Dinesh Shukla and Demetrios Shias of UIC; Glen Stebbins, Dusan Stefoski and George Katsamakis of Rush University Medical Center; and Douglas Jeffrey of Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Takeda Pharmaceuticals funded the study and provided the drug but had no other involvement in the study.
Jeanne Galatzer-Levy | EurekAlert!
A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
21.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
21.08.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences