Farnesol induces protection against murine CNS inflammatory demyelination and modifies gut microbiome

Clin Immunol. 2022 Feb;235:108766. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2021.108766. Epub 2021 Jun 10.


Farnesol is a 15‑carbon organic isoprenol synthesized by plants and mammals with anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective activities. We sought to determine whether farnesol treatment would result in protection against murine experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a well-established model of multiple sclerosis (MS). We compared disease progression and severity in C57BL/6 mice treated orally with 100 mg/kg/day farnesol solubilized in corn oil to corn-oil treated and untreated EAE mice. Farnesol significantly delayed the onset of EAE (by ~2 days) and dramatically decreased disease severity (~80%) compared to controls. Disease protection by farnesol was associated with a significant reduction in spinal cord infiltration by monocytes-macrophages, dendritic cells, CD4+ T cells, and a significant change in gut microbiota composition, including a decrease in the Firmicutes:Bacteroidetes ratio. The study suggests FOL could protect MS patients against CNS inflammatory demyelination by partially modulating the gut microbiome composition.

Keywords: CNS inflammatory demyelination; EAE; Farnesol; Gut microbiome; Isoprenols.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / chemically induced*
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Farnesol / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Mice


  • Farnesol