Oxysterols and Multiple Sclerosis


Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. Dysfunction of the immune system leads to lesions that cause motor, sensory, cognitive, visual and/or sphincter disturbances. In the long term, these disorders can progress towards an irreversible handicap. The diagnosis takes time because there are no specific criteria to diagnose multiple sclerosis. To realize the diagnosis, a combination of clinical, biological, and radiological arguments is therefore required. Hence, there is a need to identify multiple sclerosis biomarkers. Some biomarkers target immunity through the detection of oligoclonal bands, the measurement of the IgG index and cytokines. During the physiopathological process, the blood-brain barrier can be broken, and this event can be identified by measuring metalloproteinase activity and diffusion of gadolinium in the brain by magnetic resonance imaging. Markers of demyelination and of astrocyte and microglial activity may also be of interest as well as markers of neuronal damage and mitochondrial status. The measurement of different lipids in the plasma and cerebrospinal fluid can also provide suitable information. These different lipids include fatty acids, fatty acid peroxidation products, phospholipids as well as oxidized derivatives of cholesterol (oxysterols). Oxysterols could constitute new biomarkers providing information on the form of multiple sclerosis, the outcome of the disease and the answer to treatment.