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Translational Significance of GMF-β Inhibition by Indazole-4-yl-methanol in Enteric Glial Cells for Treating Multiple Sclerosis

Subhramanian, S;Ariyath, A;Sabhi, R;Xavier, T;Anandakuttan, A;Kannoth, S;Thennavan, A;Sreekumar, KP;Unni, AKK;Mohan, CG;Menon, KN;

In the emerging context of gut–brain control of multiple sclerosis (MS), developing therapeutics targeting proinflammatory proteins controlling the gut–brain immunomodulation is welcoming. One such immunomodulator is glia maturation factor-β (GMF-β). GMF-β activation following GMF-β-ser-83 phosphorylation upregulates proinflammatory responses and exacerbates experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Notably, GMF-β–/– mice exhibited no EAE symptoms. Thus, we identified 1H-indazole-4-yl-methanol (GMFBI.1) inhibitor which blocked GMF-β-ser-83 phosphorylation critical in EAE suppression. To establish gut GMF-β′s role in EAE in the context of gut–brain involvement in neurodegenerative diseases, we altered gut GMFBI.1 bioavailability as an index of EAE suppression. At first, we identified Miglyol 812N as a suitable biocompatible GMFBI.1 carrier compared to other FDA-approved carriers using in silico molecular docking analysis. GMFBI.1 administration in Miglyol 812N enhanced its retention/brain permeability. Subsequently, we administered GMFBI.1-Miglyol 812N by subcutaneous/oral routes at different doses with differential GMFBI.1 bioavailability in gut and brain to assess the role of local GMFBI.1 bioavailability in EAE reversal by a pharmacokinetic approach. Deprival of gut GMFBI.1 bioavailability led to partial EAE suppression despite having sufficient GMFBI.1 in circulation to inhibit brain GMF-β activity. Restoration of gut GMFBI.1 bioavailability led to complete EAE reversal. Molecular pathology behind partial/full EAE reversal was associated with differential GMF-β-Ser-83 phosphorylation/GM-CSF expression levels in enteric glial cells owing to GMFBI.1 bioavailability. In addition, we observed leaky gut reversal, tight junction protein ZO-1 restoration, beneficial gut microbiome repopulation, recovery from gut dysbiosis, and upregulation of Treg cells. GMFBI.1’s dual gut/brain targeting of GMF-β has therapeutical/translational potential in controlling autoimmunity in MS.