Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common CNS-demyelinating disease of humans, showing clinical and pathological heterogeneity and a general resistance to therapy. We first discovered that abnormal myelin hypercitrullination, even in normal appearing white matter, by peptidylarginine deiminases (PADs) correlates strongly with disease severity and might have an important role in MS progression. Hypercitrullination is known to promote focal demyelination through reduced myelin compaction. Here we report that 2-chloroacetamidine (2CA) a small-molecule, PAD active-site inhibitor, dramatically attenuates disease at any stage in independent neurodegenerative as well as autoimmune MS mouse models. 2CA reduced PAD activity and protein citrullination to pre-disease status. In the autoimmune models, disease induction uniformly induced spontaneous hypercitrullination with citrulline+ epitopes targeted frequently. 2CA rapidly suppressed T cell autoreactivity, clearing brain and spinal cord infiltrates, through selective removal of newly activated T cells. 2CA essentially prevented disease when administered before disease onset or before autoimmune induction, making hypercitrullination and specifically PAD enzymes a therapeutic target in MS models and thus possibly MS.
- Received July 13, 2012.
- Accepted October 29, 2012.
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