CSPG targeting for lesion regeneration in multiple sclerosis

Bertrand Huard (France), V. Wee Yong (Canada)

Primary phases of multiple sclerosis (MS) are well controlled by anti-inflammatory drugs. However, these early stages are invariably followed along with disease longevity by uncontrolled progressive forms mostly due to the lack of pro-regeneration therapies. Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) are one family of molecules known to exert inhibition of axonal regeneration in preclinical models of brain trauma. Recently, Dr Yong’s group described that CSPGs are potent inhibitors of remyelination in mouse MS models, and that aging mice showed an increased deposition of CSPGs in their lesions. Concurrently, Dr Huard’s group discovered a new natural ligand for CSPGs, expressed in MS lesions, a proliferation inducing ligand (APRIL). Drs Yong and Huard have thus combined their expertise in this project to test whether CSPG inhibition by APRIL may help induce regeneration in multiple sclerosis lesions. If so, this will have a considerable impact on regenerative biology in general and MS in particular.