Taurine lends hand to repair cells damaged in MS

December 18, 2017
New research suggests that administering taurine, a molecule naturally produced by human cells, could boost the effectiveness of current multiple sclerosis therapies. Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute found that taurine helps spark remyelination, which is crucial to repairing the nerve cells damaged in MS. Researchers said this discovery is exciting because taurine has already been shown to be safe at certain doses and is readily used by the brain. 

The new analysis and follow-up tests in cells showed that while the endogenous metabolite taurine cannot induce oligodendrocyte precursor cell maturation on its own, it can lend a helping hand when combined with the drugs benztropine or miconazole.

The discovery highlights the potential for a technique called "metabolomic profiling," which can identify useful endogenous metabolites the body already makes in small quantities, such as taurine, for new applications in drug therapies. Researchers tested the potential of molecules called endogenous metabolites to influence oligodendrocyte precursor cells. Endogenous (meaning "originating from within") metabolites are molecules naturally made by cells and include sugars, fatty acids and amino acids.

The research was published recently in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.

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