Experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) is the animal model for multiple sclerosis. This study explores a novel use of sodium benzoate (NaB), a commonly used food additive and a Food and Drug Administration-approved nontoxic drug for urea cycle disorders, in treating the disease process of relapsing-remitting EAE in female SJL/J mice. NaB, administered through drinking water at physiologically tolerable doses, ameliorated clinical symptoms and disease progression of EAE in recipient mice and suppressed the generation of encephalitogenic T cells in donor mice. Histological studies reveal that NaB effectively inhibited infiltration of mononuclear cells and demyelination in the spinal cord of EAE mice. Consequently, NaB also suppressed the expression of proinflammatory molecules and normalized myelin gene expression in the CNS of EAE mice. Furthermore, we observed that NaB switched the differentiation of myelin basic protein-primed T cells from Th1 to Th2 mode, enriched regulatory T cell population, and down-regulated the expression of various contact molecules in T cells. Taken together, our results suggest that NaB modifies encephalitogenic T cells at multiple steps and that NaB may have therapeutic importance in multiple sclerosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy