Selective Immunomodulatory and Neuroprotective Effects of a NOD2 Receptor Agonist on Mouse Models of Multiple Sclerosis

Adham Fani Maleki, Giulia Cisbani, Nataly Laflamme, Paul Prefontaine, Marie-Michele Plante, Joanie Baillargeon, Manu Rangachari, Jean Gosselin, Serge Rivest
Neurotherapeutics: the Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics 2021 January 21
The significance of monocytes has been demonstrated in multiple sclerosis (MS). One of the therapeutic challenges is developing medications that induce mild immunomodulation that is solely targeting specific monocyte subsets without affecting microglia. Muramyl dipeptide (MDP) activates the NOD2 receptor, and systemic MDP administrations convert Ly6Chigh into Ly6Clow monocytes. Here, we report selective immunomodulatory and therapeutic effects of MDP on cuprizone and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mouse models of MS. MDP treatment exerted various therapeutic effects in EAE, including delaying EAE onset and reducing infiltration of leukocytes into the CNS before EAE onset. Of great interest is the robust beneficial effect of the MDP treatment in mice already developing the disease several days after EAE onset. Finally, we found that the NOD2 receptor plays a critical role in MDP-mediated EAE resistance. Our results demonstrate that MDP is beneficial in both early and progressive phases of EAE. Based on these results, and upon comprehensive basic and clinical research, we anticipate developing NOD2 agonist-based medications for MS in the future.

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