GLEN ALLEN, Va., Jan. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Star Scientific, Inc. (NASDAQ: STSI) today announces publication of the first peer-reviewed article examining the effects of anatabine in a mouse model of the debilitating autoimmune and neurodegenerative disease multiple sclerosis (MS). The study, conducted by the Company's research partner, The Roskamp Institute, was designed to determine whether anatabine had beneficial effects on the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in mice, which is a standard mouse model of MS. Some of the findings were previously presented at Neuroscience 2012, an international scientific convention; however, the article in PLOS ONE contains complete results of the study, and the article was subjected to the peer review evaluation process prior to publication.
The Roskamp researchers found that orally administered anatabine significantly reduced neurological disability and improved motor coordination of EAE mice. In particular, paralysis of the hind limbs was markedly suppressed in the anatabine treated group, and neurological symptoms were delayed in the anatabine treated group compared to the placebo group.
The study results also showed that anatabine supplementation resulted in suppression of several pro-inflammatory molecules (cytokines) in the blood and in the spleen of the EAE mice. The observed reduction in the levels of several inflammatory molecules provides evidence that the experimental autoimmune process has been reduced. Anatabine also significantly suppressed STAT3 and NF-kB activation in the spleen and the brain of the EAE mice. These two intracellular transcription factors (proteins) regulate a large array of inflammatory genes including cytokines, suggesting a mechanism by which anatabine antagonizes pro-inflammatory cytokine production.In addition, the researchers found that anatabine reduced the infiltration of inflammatory cells in the brain and significantly prevented demyelination in the spinal cord of EAE mice. In humans, demyelination in the spinal cord is associated with muscle weakness and paralysis in MS. Therefore, the researchers concluded that the "data suggest that anatabine may be effective in the treatment of MS."