Current status of myelin replacement therapies in multiple sclerosis

Prog Brain Res. 2012;201:219-31. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-59544-7.00011-1.


Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease of the human central nervous system characterized by immune-mediated myelin and axonal damage, and chronic axonal loss attributable to the absence of myelin sheaths. There are two aspects to the treatment of MS-first, the prevention of damage by suppressing the maladaptive immune system, and second, the long-term preservation of axons by the promotion of remyelination, a regenerative process in which new axons are restored to demyelinated axons. Medicine has made significant progress in the first of these in recent years-there is an increasing number of ever more effective disease-modifying immunomodulatory interventions. However, there are currently no widely used regenerative therapies in MS. Conceptually, there are two approaches to remyelination therapy-transplantation of myelinogenic cells and promotion of endogenous remyelination mediated by myelinogenic cells present within the diseased tissue. In this chapter, in addition to describing why remyelination therapies are important, we review both these approaches, outlining their current status and future developments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult Stem Cells / transplantation*
  • Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / surgery*
  • Myelin Sheath / physiology*
  • Regeneration / physiology