Inhibition of the neuroactive opioid growth factor (OGF) alters the blood levels of important pro- and anti-inflammatory proteins in mice with multiple sclerosis (MS)-like disease. The recognition of this regulatory response may represent a new way to monitor disease progression and treatment response in MS.
These findings were reported in a study published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine, titled “Modulation of the OGF–OGFr pathway alters cytokine profiles in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis.” The study was led by researchers at Penn State University.
Understanding the underlying mechanisms involved in MS and finding ways to tackle them is crucial for improving early diagnosis, monitoring disease progression, and patient care.
For many years, researchers at Penn State have been focused on understanding the benefits of low-dose naltrexone and its relation with OGF in health and disease, including MS.
Naltrexone is marketed with the brand name ReVia, among others. This drug is used routinely off-label to treat MS and other autoimmune diseases, as it has demonstrated to it can reduce fatigue, lessen pain, and confer a general feeling of well-being to patients.
Its mode of action is not fully understood, but it is known to block the interaction of the neuroactive OGF with its receptor OGFr. In addition, low-dose naltrexone and OGF were shown to prevent the proliferation of active immune cells in mice with MS-like disease.
To further evaluate the role of OGF and low-dose naltrexone in MS, researchers treated mice with naltrexone and analyzed its impact on blood levels of pro- and anti-inflammatory signaling proteins (cytokines).
Results showed that after 10 days, MS mice had increased levels in seven out of 10 tested cytokines. Treatment with OGF or low-dose naltrexone was found to specifically increase the levels of the pro-inflammatory IL-6 cytokine, and significantly reduce the levels of anti-inflammatory IL-10 protein.
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