Stem cell therapy of multiple sclerosis is associated with immune modulation, as well as the possibility of inducing regeneration of damaged neural tissue. In the quest to figure out novel agents that may be useful in combination with stem cell therapy, scientists assess various drugs. One class of interesting drugs to evaluate are drugs that are already on the market for different diseases. For example, erythropoietin was previously demonstrated to inhibit multiple sclerosis in animal models. Erythropoietin is a hormone made by the kidneys that normally stimulates red blood cell production from the bone marrow hematpoietic stem cell. Erythropoietin is administered as a drug in patients with anemia to increase red blood cells. Interestingly, erythropoietin is also associated with suppression of inflammatory Th1 and Th17 responses, upregulation of antiinflammatory Th2 responses, and stimulation of endogenous stem cells, including stem cells in the brain.
The video above describes the effects of lithium on the animal model of multiple sclerosis called experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE). It demonstrates that administration of lithium suppresses autoreactive T cells but not overall T cell responses. Furthermore, the paper demonstrated that lithium administration not only suppressed disease onset, but also reversed established disease.
It appears that lithium mediates its effects through the suppression of the GSK-3 enzyme, which is involved not only in inflammation but also self-renewal of stem cells.
The above video is provided for educational purposes only and is not suggesting the use of lithium in treatment of multiple sclerosis patients, it is only providing some scientific information that may be useful in future clinical trials and scientific experiments.