We studied the role of fasudil, a selective Rho-kinase inhibitor, in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Both parenteral and oral administration of fasudil prevented the development of EAE induced by proteolipid protein (PLP) p139-151 in SJL/J mice. Specific proliferation of lymphocytes to PLP was significantly reduced, together with a downregulation of interleukin (IL)-17 and a marked decrease of the IFN-γ/IL-4 ratio. Immunohistochemical examination also disclosed a marked decrease of inflammatory cell infiltration, and attenuated demyelination and acute axonal transaction. These results may provide a rationale of selective blockade of Rho-kinase by oral use of fasudil as a new therapy for multiple sclerosis.
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