Combined treatment with ribavirin and tiazofurin attenuates response of glial cells in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
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Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is an animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS), a human inflammatory and demyelinating disease. Microglia and astrocytes are glial cells of the central nervous system (CNS) that play a dual role in MS and EAE pathology. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of combined treatment with two nucleoside analogues, ribavirin and tiazofurin, on microglia and astrocytes in actively induced EAE. Therapeutic treatment with a combination of these two nucleoside analogues reduced disease severity, mononuclear cell infiltration and demyelination. The obtained histological results indicate that ribavirin and tiazofurin changed activated microglia into an inactive type and attenuated astrocyte reactivity at the end of the treatment period. Since reduction of reactive microgliosis and astrogliosis correlated with EAE suppression, the present study also suggests that the obtained beneficial effect of ribavirin and tiazofurin could be a consequence of their action inside as well as outside the CNS.