The therapeutic potential of HDAC inhibitors in the treatment of multiple sclerosis

Mol Med. May-Jun 2011;17(5-6):442-7. doi: 10.2119/molmed.2011.00077. Epub 2011 Feb 25.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a devastating autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system (CNS) for which there is no efficacious cure. Thanks to numerous preclinical and clinical studies, drugs able to mitigate the inexorable course of the disease have been made available recently. Still, there is a terrible need for compounds capable of reducing the severity of the autoimmune attack and of blocking progression of the disorder. Also, besides the classic immunosuppressive strategies, it is now appreciated that compounds directly targeting neuronal death can be of relevance to the treatment of MS patients. Acetylation homeostasis is a key regulator of both immune cell activation and neuronal survival. Of note, potent histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) endowed with antiinflammatory and neuroprotective properties have been identified. Efficacy of HDACi in experimental models of MS has been reported consistently. In this review, we provide an appraisal of the literature on HDACi and MS, also discussing the mechanisms by which HDACi can suppress the autoimmune attack to the CNS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors