Using a mouse model of MS, neurologists at Jefferson Medical College found that doses of glucosamine similar to those taken for osteoarthritis dramatically delayed the onset of symptoms and improved the animals' ability to move and walk.
The scientists, led by A. M. Rostami, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Neurology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and the Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience in Philadelphia, and Guang-Xian Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of neurology at Jefferson Medical College, say the treatment's anti-inflammatory effects may be useful in conjunction with more mainstream therapies such as beta-interferon in helping patients with MS to delay or perhaps stave off some of the debilitating effects of the disease. They report their findings in the December 1, 2005 of The Journal of Immunology.
"It would be fantastic if glucosamine works in humans because we have a product that has a long track record for safety, and most importantly, can be given orally," says Dr. Rostami, who is also director of the Neuroimmunology Laboratory in the Department of Neurology at Jefferson Medical College. He notes that current treatments for MS are given by injection. He hopes to test glucosamine in clinical trials in the near future.
MS, one of the most common neurological diseases affecting young adults, is thought to be an autoimmune disease (in which the body attacks its own tissue) affecting the central nervous system (CNS). In MS, the myelin coating of nerve fibers becomes inflamed and scarred. As a result, "messages" cannot be sent through the nervous system.