Therapeutic potential of carbon monoxide in multiple sclerosis

Authors


F. Nicoletti, Department of Bio-medical Sciences. Via Androne, 83, 95124 Catania, Italy. E-mail: ferdinic@unict.it

Summary

Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced during the catabolism of free haem, catalyzed by haem oxygenase (HO) enzymes, and its physiological roles include vasodilation, neurotransmission, inhibition of platelet aggregation and anti-proliferative effects on smooth muscle. In vivo preclinical studies have shown that exogenously administered quantities of CO may represent an effective treatment for conditions characterized by a dysregulated immune response. The carbon monoxide-releasing molecules (CORMs) represent a group of compounds capable of carrying and liberating controlled quantities of CO in the cellular systems. This review covers the physiological and anti-inflammatory properties of the HO/CO pathway in the central nervous system. It also discusses the effects of CORMs in preclinical models of inflammation. The accumulating data discussed herein support the possibility that CORMs may represent a novel class of drugs with disease-modifying properties in multiple sclerosis.

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