HealthEuropa reveals new research into myelin sheaths, the “insulation” around nerve cells that gets damaged by multiple sclerosis and some kinds of traumatic injuries. Swiss researchers have found that theophylline (a compound commonly found in coffee, tea, and chocolate) can help regrow those myelin sheaths and bring those nerves back online:
The researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the University of Fribourg in Switzerland and led by neurobiologist Professor Claire Jacob, were able to regenerate damaged myelin sheaths in mice by treating them with the active substance theophylline, restoring their nerve cell function.
“First, we wanted to understand the process that blocks remyelination. We subsequently studied how to counteract this blocking effect,” said Jacob. The neuroscientists identified a protein called eEF1A1 as a key factor in the process and found that eEF1A1 activated by acetylation prevents the remyelination process, but if eEF1A1 is deactivated by deacetylation, myelin sheaths can be rebuilt. The protein that deacetylates eEF1A1 is the enzyme called histone deacetylase 2 (HDAC2).
“Once we understood this process, we decided to try to control it by boosting the HDAC2 activity and its synthesis in cells,” said Jacob. This was achieved by using the active substance theophylline, which is also present in tea leaves and has long been used in the treatment of asthma.
“In a mouse model, the use of theophylline over a period of four days resulted in significant recovery.
You can read their research in Nature Communications.