Restoration of axon conduction and motor deficits by therapeutic treatment with glatiramer acetate

Spencer Moore, Anna J. Khalaj, Rhusheet Patel, Jaehee Yoon, Daniel Ichwan, Liat Hayardeny, Seema K. Tiwari-Woodruff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Glatiramer acetate (GA; Copaxone) is an approved drug for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). The underlying multifactorial anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective effect of GA is in the induction of reactive T cells that release immunomodulatory cytokines and neurotrophic factors at the injury site. These GA-induced cytokines and growth factors may have a direct effect on axon function. Building on previous findings that suggest a neuroprotective effect of GA, we assessed the therapeutic effects of GA on brain and spinal cord pathology and functional correlates using the chronic experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mouse model of MS. Therapeutic regimens were utilized based on promising prophylactic efficacy. More specifically, C57BL/6 mice were treated with 2 mg/mouse/day GA for 8 days beginning at various time points after EAE post-induction day 15, yielding a thorough, clinically relevant assessment of GA efficacy within the context of severe progressive disease. Therapeutic treatment with GA significantly decreased clinical scores and improved rotorod motor performance in EAE mice. These functional improvements were supported by an increase in myelinated axons and fewer amyloid precursor protein-positive axons in the spinal cords of GA-treated EAE mice. Furthermore, therapeutic GA decreased microglia/macrophage and T cell infiltrates and increased oligodendrocyte numbers in both the spinal cord and corpus callosum of EAE mice. Finally, GA improved callosal axon conduction and nodal protein organization in EAE. Our results demonstrate that therapeutic GA treatment has significant beneficial effects in a chronic mouse model of MS, in which its positive effects on both myelinated and non-myelinated axons results in improved axon function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1621-1636
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Axon conduction
  • Demyelination
  • Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE)
  • Glatiramer acetate
  • Inflammation
  • Motor deficit
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Neural repair
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Rotarod
  • Therapeutics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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