Neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis involves multiple pathogenic mechanisms
Michael C Levin,1–3 Joshua N Douglas,1,3 Lindsay Meyers,1 Sangmin Lee,1,2 Yoojin Shin,1,2 Lidia A Gardner1,2
1Veterans Administration Medical Center, 2Department of Neurology, 3Department of Neuroscience, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, USA
Abstract: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex autoimmune disease that impairs the central nervous system (CNS). The neurological disability and clinical course of the disease is highly variable and unpredictable from one patient to another. The cause of MS is still unknown, but it is thought to occur in genetically susceptible individuals who develop disease due to a nongenetic trigger, such as altered metabolism, a virus, or other environmental factors. MS patients develop progressive, irreversible, neurological disability associated with neuronal and axonal damage, collectively known as neurodegeneration. Neurodegeneration was traditionally considered as a secondary phenomenon to inflammation and demyelination. However, recent data indicate that neurodegeneration develops along with inflammation and demyelination. Thus, MS is increasingly recognized as a neurodegenerative disease triggered by an inflammatory attack of the CNS. While both inflammation and demyelination are well described and understood cellular processes, neurodegeneration might be defined by a diverse pool of any of the following: neuronal cell death, apoptosis, necrosis, and virtual hypoxia. In this review, we present multiple theories and supporting evidence that identify common biological processes that contribute to neurodegeneration in MS.
Keywords: lipid and one-carbon metabolism, hypoxia, oxidative stress, autoantibodies, nuclear receptors
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