The Journal of clinical investigation

Hydroxycarboxylic acid receptor 2 mediates dimethyl fumarate's protective effect in EAE.

PMID 24691444


Taken orally, the drug dimethyl fumarate (DMF) has been shown to improve functional outcomes for patients with MS; however, it is unclear how DMF mediates a protective effect. DMF and, more so, its active metabolite, monomethyl fumarate, are known agonists of the hydroxycarboxylic acid receptor 2 (HCA₂), a G protein-coupled membrane receptor. Here, we evaluated the contribution of HCA₂ in mediating the protective effect afforded by DMF in EAE, a mouse model of MS. DMF treatment reduced neurological deficit, immune cell infiltration, and demyelination of the spinal cords in wild-type mice, but not in Hca2⁻/⁻ mice, indicating that HCA₂ is required for the therapeutic effect of DMF. In particular, DMF decreased the number of infiltrating neutrophils in a HCA₂-dependent manner, likely by interfering with neutrophil adhesion to endothelial cells and chemotaxis. Together, our data indicate that HCA₂ mediates the therapeutic effects of DMF in EAE. Furthermore, identification of HCA₂ as a molecular target may help to optimize MS therapy.

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