Repurposing the cardiac glycoside digoxin to stimulate myelin regeneration in chemically-induced and immune-mediated mouse models of multiple sclerosis
digoxin; immune tolerance; multiple sclerosis; myelin regeneration; oligodendrocyte
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a central nervous system (CNS) autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation, demyelination, and neurodegeneration. The ideal MS therapy would both specifically inhibit the underlying autoimmune response and promote repair/regeneration of myelin as well as maintenance of axonal integrity. Currently approved MS therapies consist of non-specific immunosuppressive molecules/antibodies which block activation or CNS homing of autoreactive T cells, but there are no approved therapies for stimulation of remyelination nor maintenance of axonal integrity. In an effort to repurpose an FDA-approved medication for myelin repair, we chose to examine the effectiveness of digoxin, a cardiac glycoside (Na /K ATPase inhibitor), originally identified as pro-myelinating in an in vitro screen. We found that digoxin regulated multiple genes in oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) essential for oligodendrocyte (OL) differentiation in vitro, promoted OL differentiation both in vitro and in vivo in female naïve C57BL/6J (B6) mice, and stimulated recovery of myelinated axons in B6 mice following demyelination in the corpus callosum induced by cuprizone and spinal cord demyelination induced by lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC), respectively. More relevant to treatment of MS, we show that digoxin treatment of mice with established MOG -induced Th1/Th17-mediated chronic EAE combined with tolerance induced by the i.v. infusion of biodegradable poly(lactide-co-glycolide) nanoparticles coupled with MOG (PLG-MOG ) completely ameliorated clinical disease symptoms and stimulated recovery of OL lineage cell numbers. These findings provide critical pre-clinical evidence supporting future clinical trials of myelin-specific tolerance with myelin repair/regeneration drugs, such as digoxin, in MS patients.
Titus, Haley E.; Xu, Huan; Robinson, Andrew P.; Patel, Priyam A.; Chen, Yanan; Fantini, Damiano; Eaton, Valerie; Karl, Molly; Garrison, Eric D.; Rose, Indigo V.; Chiang, Ming Yi; Podojil, Joseph R.; Balabanov, Roumen; Liddelow, Shane A.; Miller, Robert H.; Popko, Brian; and Miller, Stephen D., "Repurposing the cardiac glycoside digoxin to stimulate myelin regeneration in chemically-induced and immune-mediated mouse models of multiple sclerosis" (2022). GW Authored Works. Paper 1332.
Anatomy and Regenerative Biology