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Melatonin ameliorates disease severity in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis by modulating the kynurenine pathway

Jand, Y;Ghahremani, MH;Ghanbari, A;Ejtemaei-Mehr, S;Guillemin, GJ;Ghazi-Khansari, M;

Melatonin (MT), a neurohormone with immunomodulatory properties, is one of the metabolites produced in the brain from tryptophan (TRP) that has already strong links with the neuropathogenesis of Multiple sclerosis (MS). However, the exact molecular mechanisms behind that are not fully understood. There is some evidence showing that MS and MT are interconnected via different pathways: Relapses of MS has a direct correlation with a low level of MT secretion and a growing body of evidence suggest that MT be therapeutic in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE, a recognise animal model of MS) severity. Previous studies have demonstrated that the kynurenine pathway (KP), the main pathway of TRP catabolism, plays a key role in the pathogenesis of MS in humans and in EAE. The present study aimed to investigate whether MT can improve clinical signs in the EAE model by modulating the KP. C57BL/6 mice were induced with EAE and received different doses of MT. Then the onset and severity of EAE clinical symptoms were recorded. Two biological factors, aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) and NAD+ which closely interact in the KP were also assessed. The results indicated that MT treatment at all tested doses significantly decrease the EAE clinical scores and the number of demyelinating plaques. Furthermore, MT treatment reduced the mRNA expression of the KP regulatory enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1(IDO-1) and other KP enzymes. We also found that MT treatment reduces the mRNA expression of the AhR and inhibits the enzyme Nicotinamide N-Methyltransferase (Nnmt) overexpression leading to an increase in NAD+ levels. Collectively, this study suggests that MT treatment may significantly attenuates the severity of EAE by altering the KP, AhR and NAD+ metabolism.