GLEN ALLEN, Va., Jan. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Star Scientific, Inc. (STSI) today announces publication of the first peer-reviewed article examining the effects of anatabine in a mouse model of the debilitating autoimmune and neurodegenerative disease multiple sclerosis (MS). The study, conducted by the Company's research partner, The Roskamp Institute, was designed to determine whether anatabine had beneficial effects on the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in mice, which is a standard mouse model of MS. Some of the findings were previously presented at Neuroscience 2012, an international scientific convention; however, the article in PLOS ONE contains complete results of the study, and the article was subjected to the peer review evaluation process prior to publication.
The Roskamp researchers found that orally administered anatabine significantly reduced neurological disability and improved motor coordination of EAE mice. In particular, paralysis of the hind limbs was markedly suppressed in the anatabine treated group, and neurological symptoms were delayed in the anatabine treated group compared to the placebo group.
The study results also showed that anatabine supplementation resulted in suppression of several pro-inflammatory molecules (cytokines) in the blood and in the spleen of the EAE mice. The observed reduction in the levels of several inflammatory molecules provides evidence that the experimental autoimmune process has been reduced. Anatabine also significantly suppressed STAT3 and NF-kB activation in the spleen and the brain of the EAE mice. These two intracellular transcription factors (proteins) regulate a large array of inflammatory genes including cytokines, suggesting a mechanism by which anatabine antagonizes pro-inflammatory cytokine production.
In addition, the researchers found that anatabine reduced the infiltration of inflammatory cells in the brain and significantly prevented demyelination in the spinal cord of EAE mice. In humans, demyelination in the spinal cord is associated with muscle weakness and paralysis in MS. Therefore, the researchers concluded that the "data suggest that anatabine may be effective in the treatment of MS."
Dr. Michael Mullan, President and CEO of the Roskamp Institute, commented, "The most remarkable results were the clear inhibition of brain inflammation and the degeneration of the spinal cord by anatabine and the accompanying inhibition of the severe paralysis that usually accompanied the model."
Dr. Daniel Paris, the primary author of the article and Head of Research and Development at the Roskamp Institute, added, "The oral administration of anatabine potently reduced the neurological deficits and abrogated the pathological lesions in the spinal cord that are responsible for the development of paralysis in this mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS). In addition our work also explains the beneficial activity of anatabine in this MS model by showing that this compound prevents the activation of key molecules that orchestrate the propagation of inflammation in the central nervous system and the periphery."
The full title of the study is, "Amelioration of Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis by Anatabine," and can be viewed here: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0055392. This study builds upon earlier research conducted by the Roskamp Institute, which showed that the natural alkaloid anatabine displays anti-inflammatory properties and readily crosses the blood brain barrier, suggesting it could represent an important compound for mitigating many types of neuro-inflammatory conditions.
PLOS ONE is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, scientific journal.
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About Star Scientific
Star Scientific, Inc. is a technology-oriented company with a mission to promote maintenance of a healthy metabolism and lifestyle. Over the last several years, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals, Star Scientific has been engaged in the manufacturing, sale, and marketing of two nutraceutical dietary supplements, and the development of other nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. The company also continues to pursue the licensing of the technology behind its proprietary StarCured® curing process and its related products. Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals has scientific and research offices in Gloucester, MA, and a regulatory office in Washington, DC. Star Scientific has a Corporate and Sales Office in Glen Allen, VA, and an Executive, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs office in Washington, DC.