Jan. 27, 2016
RegeneRx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. a clinical-stage drug development company focused on tissue protection, repair and regeneration, today announced the publication of a new scientific study demonstrating how Thymosin beta 4 (Tβ4) initiates remyelination (restoration of the myelination sheath around nerve cells responsible for fast and accurate transmission of nerve signals) by promoting the differentiation of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) in two separate demyelination animal models, including the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model and the cuprizone diet model, both commonly used for studying different aspects of MS-related pathology.
Thymosin is a naturally occurring immunological hormone secreted by the thymus gland. It is present in greatest amounts in youngchildren and decreases in amount throughout life.
Demyelination or damage to the myelin sheath causes nerve impulses to slow or stop and is the hallmark of multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating neurological disorders.
Oligodendrocytes are the myelin-producing cells in the nervous system. These mature cells do not replicate; thus, myelin can only be restored if the oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) are recruited, have increased proliferation, and differentiate into mature oligodendrocytes.re
According to the authors, these findings indicated that:
1) Tβ4 increases proliferation of OPCs and the maturation of OPCs to myelinating oligodendrocytes which in concert, likely contribute to the beneficial effect of Tβ4.
2) Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor upregulated and activated by Tβ4 may mediate the process of OPC differentiation.
3) Tβ4 could potentially be developed as a therapy for MS patients, and for other demyelinating neurological disorders.
Thymosin Beta 4 is a naturally occurring peptide. It is found in high concentrations in blood platelets, wound fluid and other tissues in the body. Tβ4 is not a growth factor; rather, it is a major actin regulating peptide. Tβ4 has been found to play an important role in protection, regeneration and remodeling of injured or damaged tissues. The gene for Tβ4 has also been found to be one of the first to be upregulated after a wound occurs.
Numerous preclinical studies have indicated multiple biologic activities for Tβ4, specific to different tissues types.
|BIOLOGIC ACTIVITIES||TISSUES||MECHANISM OF ACTION|
|Reduces Inflammation||Dermis, Myocardium, Cornea, CNS||Down regulates inflammatory cytokines and nuclear transcription factor NFkB|
|Accelerates collagen deposition and up-regulates laminin-5 production||Dermis||Unknown|
|Prevents apoptosis and promotes cell survival||Dermis, Myocardium, CNS||Unknown|
|Promotes angiogenesis and stem cell
|Dermis, Myocardium, CNS||Up-regulates AkT survival kinase|
|Promotes cell migration||Dermis, Myocardium, Cornea||Regulates F and G actins|
|Increases oligodendrocytes in the brain differentiation||CNS||OPC|
The research was performed by Dr. J. Zhang et al., in the Departments of Neurology and Biostatistics and Research Epidemiology, Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, MI and the Department of Physics at Oakland University inRochester, MI, and published in the Journal of Neurobiology of Disease, 2016 Jan 12; pii: S0969-9961(16)30010-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2016.01.010. [Epub] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26805386.
RegeneRx is a publicly traded, clinical-stage, biopharmaceutical company engaged in the design, research and development of novel peptides targeted at diseases with unmet medical needs. RegeneRx’s mission is to research and develop novel pharmaceuticals that protect and repair tissue and organ damage caused by disease, trauma or other pathology.
RegeneRx acquired the rights to a novel peptide from the NIH in 1999. This intellectual property for Thymosin Beta 4 (Tβ4) allowed the company to direct its focus on tissue protection and repair in multiple disease indications.