Researchers at the University of California have just published a paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry looking at a form of modified glucosamine as a potential treatment for MS.

Noting that recent work on the genetics of MS has shown particular parts of the inflammatory pathway to be disrupted in people with MS, leading to increased inflammation, the researchers examined a compound very similar to over the counter glucosamine, N-acetyl glucosamine, which has been shown to affect these pathways.

The chemical, which is remarkably free of side effects, was shown to suppress the inflammatory parts of the pathway (Th1 and Th17 cells), but leave the other parts of the pathway unaffected (unlike many of the MS drugs), and to markedly improve the condition of animals with the experimental form of MS (EAE).

This is potentially a very exciting treatment option for MS that requires further research in large randomised controlled trials.