BP drug reduces MS symptoms

A drug used to treat BP and heart failure has been found to reduce the symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), UK research suggests.

The discovery that the drug amiloride, a potassium-sparing diuretic, can reduce the degeneration of nerve tissue offers fresh hope for MS sufferers.

For this study, the researchers hypothesised that the acid-sensing ion channel (ASIC1) could play a key role in the development of MS.

ASIC1 works by sensing acid levels around the cell and lets in sodium and calcium molecules into cells. This function is an important part of the process of sensing pain and touch.

Using mice with a condition that mimics some aspects of the human form of MS, the researchers found that the ASIC1 channel contributes to the degeneration of the axon, which in turns leads to the nerve damage caused by MS.

The next step of the study was to identify drugs that could be used to target the ASIC1 channel.
The heart failure drug amiloride is a known ASIC1 antagonist that is safe and licensed.

MS mice were then injected daily with amiloride for weeks. Those that were injected with the drug showed markedly reduced axonal degeneration compared with mice that had not been injected.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

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