Metabolic disturbances have been implicated in demyelinating diseases including multiple sclerosis (MS). Melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone, has emerged as a potent neuroprotective candidate to reduce myelin loss and improve MS outcomes. In this study, we evaluated the effect of melatonin, at both physiological and pharmacological doses, on oligodendrocytes metabolism in an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mouse model of MS. Results showed that melatonin decreased neurological disability scores and enhanced remyelination, significantly increasing myelin protein levels including MBP, MOG, and MOBP. In addition, melatonin attenuated inflammation by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β and TNF-α) and increasing anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-4 and IL-10). Moreover, melatonin significantly increased brain concentrations of lactate, N-acetylaspartate (NAA), and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme-A reductase (HMGCR). Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase-4 (PDK-4) mRNA and protein expression levels were also increased in melatonin-treated, compared to untreated EAE mice. However, melatonin significantly inhibited active and total pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC), an enzyme under the control of PDK4. In summary, although PDC activity was reduced by melatonin, it caused a reduction in inflammatory mediators while stimulating oligodendrogenesis, suggesting that oligodendrocytes are forced to use an alternative pathway to synthesize fatty acids for remyelination. We propose that combining melatonin and PDK inhibitors may provide greater benefits for MS patients than the use of melatonin therapy alone.
- Multiple sclerosis
- Pyruvate dehydrogenase complex
- Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)