Multiple sclerosis (MS) is considered a T-cell mediated autoimmune disease. Thus the study of the mechanisms that control the T cell response, as well as innovative strategies to modulate the pathways that control T-cell polarization by antigen-presenting cells (APCs) is likely to result in new therapeutic approaches. In this application we propose to study the mechanisms by which the transcription factors aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) and liver X receptors (LXR) controls the APCs metabolism and the differentiation of effector and regulatory T cells, as well its potential as a therapeutic target. Recently, it was showed that AHR mediates the anti-inflammatory effects of IFNb in CNS inflammation. Moreover, AHR was recently shown to mediate the therapeutic effects of Laquinimod a new drug under development for the treatment of MS. Finally, AHR is one of the pathways involved in the modulation of CNS inflammation by the gut flora. In addiction, naringenin, a citrus-flavonoid molecule was showed to promote the inhibition of pro-inflammatory T cells and improve the degenerative effects in EAE model. We found that in macrophages naringenin is a LXR agonist. Also is reported that LXR activation may contribute to tolerogenic DCs and Treg cells generation. Thus, this proposal will shed light on the regulation of the MS-relevant immune processes by current disease modifying therapies for MS. Our studies will also illuminate the mechanisms used by environmental factors such as the gut flora to affect MS pathogenesis. Finally, these studies evaluate the therapeutic potential of transcriptional factors-targeted nanoparticles, an innovative approach that may represent a new method for the reestablishment of antigen-specific tolerance in MS, with minimal side effects. In conclusion, our studies have the potential to identify immunoregulatory pathways and new therapeutic approaches relevant for MS.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: