Mojtaba Farjam, Guang-Xian Zhang, Bogoljub Ciric, Abdolmohamad Rostami
Inflammatory demyelination of the central nervous system (CNS) is the hallmark ofmultiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic debilitating disease that affects more than 2.5 million individuals worldwide. It has been widely accepted, although not proven, that the major pathogenic mechanism of MS involves myelin-reactive T cell activation in the periphery and migration into the CNS, which subsequently triggers an inflammatory cascade that leads to demyelination and axonal damage. Virtually all MS medications now in use target the immune system and prevent tissue damage by modulating neuroinflammatory processes. Although current therapies such as commonly prescribed disease-modifying medications decrease the relapse rate in relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), the prevention of long-term accumulation of deficits remains a challenge. Medications used for progressive forms of MS also have limited efficacy. The need for therapies that are effective against disease progression continues to drive the search for novel pharmacological targets. In recent years, due to a better understanding of MS immunopathogenesis, new approaches have been introduced that more specifically target autoreactive immune cells and their products, thus increasing specificity and efficacy, while reducing potential side effects such as global immunosuppression. In this review we describe several immunopharmacological targets that are currently being explored for MS therapy.