Ulinastatin attenuates experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by enhancing anti-inflammatory responses

Ming Feng, Yaqing Shu, Yu Yang, Xueping Zheng, Rui Li, Yuge Wang, Yongqiang Dai, Wei Qiu, Zhengqi Lu, Xueqiang Hu
Neurochemistry International 2014, 64: 64-72
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a common inflammatory and demyelinating neurological disease. Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of MS, has been widely used to test MS treatment methods. Ulinastatin (UTI), a drug used to treat acute inflammatory disorders, has been tested in animal models of autoimmune inflammatory diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and crescentic glomerulonephritis. We recently found that UTI has a neuroprotective effect on EAE by reducing oligodendrocyte apoptosis and demyelination. The anti-inflammatory effects of UTI on EAE/MS, however, have never been investigated. We have therefore evaluated the anti-inflammatory effects of UTI in EAE and explored the mechanisms underlying this effect. EAE was induced in mice with and without UTI treatment. Inflammation and demyelination of spinal cords were evaluated by staining with hematoxylin and eosin and with Luxol fast blue, respectively. Inflammatory markers in serum were analyzed by the Luminex method, and spinal cords were evaluated by immunofluorescence and Western blotting. UTI significantly lowered the clinical and pathological scores and the serum concentrations of the inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and matrix metal protease-9 (MMP-9). UTI also reduced the expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α)/nuclear factor kappaB (NF-κB)/inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) proteins and decreased CD11b(+) cells in spinal cord lesions. UTI may protect against EAE in mice by suppressing inflammatory responses. We think that UTI might be a potential therapeutic agent for MS.

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