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Withametelin, a novel phytosterol, alleviates neurological symptoms in EAE mouse model of multiple sclerosis via modulation of Nrf2/HO-1 and TLR4/NF-?B signaling

Khan, A;Shal, B;Khan, AU;Bibi, T;Islam, SU;Baig, MW;Haq, IU;Ali, H;Ahmad, S;Khan, S;

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system (CNS) that remains incurable. Withametelin (WMT), a phytosterol, showed diverse biological activities isolated from the leaves of Datura innoxa. In the present study, we used an in vitro model of HT22 and BV-2 cell lines and an in vivo murine model of MS, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), to explore the antioxidant and anti neuroinflammatory potential of WMT. The results showed that pretreatment with WMT markedly inhibited H2O2-induced cytotoxicity and oxidative stress in a dose-dependent manner. Correspondingly, WMT post-immunization treatment significantly attenuated EAE-induced clinical score, weight loss, neuropathic pain behaviors, and motor dysfunction. It markedly lowers EAE-induced elevated circulating leucocytes, spinal deformity, and splenomegaly. It strikingly inhibited the Evans blue and FITC extravasation in the brain. It remarkably reversed the EAE-induced histopathological alteration of the brain, spinal cord, eye, and optic nerve. It significantly intensified the antioxidant defense mechanism by improving the expression level of nuclear factor-erythroid-related factor-2 (Nrf2), heme-oxygenase-1 (HO-1) but reducing the expression level of the Kelch-like-ECH-associated-protein-1 (keap-1), inducible-nitric-oxide-synthase (iNOS) in the CNS. Likewise, it markedly suppressed neuroinflammation by reducing the expression level of toll-like-receptor 4 (TLR4), nuclear-factor-kappa-B (NF-?B), activator-protein-1 (AP-1) but increased the expression level IkB-? in the CNS. Furthermore, molecular dynamics simulations and MMPBSA binding free energies were determined to validate the dynamic stability of complexes and shed light on the atomic level intermolecular interaction energies. Taken together, this study showed that WMT has significant neuroprotective potential in EAE via modulation of Nrf2 mediated-oxidative stress and NF-?B mediated inflammation.