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Mitochondrial Uncoupler Prodrug of 2, 4-Dinitrophenol, MP201, Prevents Neuronal Damage and Preserves Vision in Experimental Optic Neuritis

Khan, RS;Dine, K;Geisler, JG;Shindler, KS;

The ability of novel mitochondrial uncoupler prodrug of 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP), MP201, to prevent neuronal damage and preserve visual function in an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model of optic neuritis was evaluated. Optic nerve inflammation, demyelination, and axonal loss are prominent features of optic neuritis, an inflammatory optic neuropathy often associated with the central nervous system demyelinating disease multiple sclerosis. Currently, optic neuritis is frequently treated with high-dose corticosteroids, but treatment fails to prevent permanent neuronal damage and associated vision changes that occur as optic neuritis resolves, thus suggesting that additional therapies are required. MP201 administered orally, once per day, attenuated visual dysfunction, preserved retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), and reduced RGC axonal loss and demyelination in the optic nerves of EAE mice, with limited effects on inflammation. The prominent mild mitochondrial uncoupling properties of MP201, with slow elimination of DNP, may contribute to the neuroprotective effect by modulating the entire mitochondrias physiology directly. Results suggest that MP201 is a potential novel treatment for optic neuritis.