S100B as a Potential Biomarker and Therapeutic Target in Multiple Sclerosis

Andreia Barateiro, Vera Afonso, Gisela Santos, Joo Jos Cerqueira, Dora Brites, Jack van Horssen, Adelaide Fernandes

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) pathology is characterized by neuroinflammation and demyelination. Recently, the inflammatory molecule S100B was identified in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum of MS patients. Although seen as an astrogliosis marker, lower/physiological levels of S100B are involved in oligodendrocyte differentiation/maturation. Nevertheless, increased S100B levels released upon injury may induce glial reactivity and oligodendrocyte demise, exacerbating tissue damage during an MS episode or delaying the following remyelination. Here, we aimed to unravel the functional role of S100B in the pathogenesis of MS. Elevated S100B levels were detected in the CSF of relapsing-remitting MS patients at diagnosis. Active demyelinating MS lesions showed increased expression of S100B and its receptor, the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE), in the lesion area, while chronic active lesions displayed increased S100B in demyelinated areas with lower expression of RAGE in the rim. Interestingly, reactive astrocytes were identified as the predominant cellular source of S100B, whereas RAGE was expressed by activated microglia/macrophages. Using an ex vivo demyelinating model, cerebral organotypic slice cultures treated with lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC), we observed a marked elevation of S100B upon demyelination, which co-localized mostly with astrocytes. Inhibition of S100B action using a directed antibody reduced LPC-induced demyelination, prevented astrocyte reactivity and abrogated the expression of inflammatory and inflammasome-related molecules. Overall, high S100B expression in MS patient samples suggests its usefulness as a diagnostic biomarker for MS, while the beneficial outcome of its inhibition in our demyelinating model indicates S100B as an emerging therapeutic target in MS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3976-3991
JournalMolecular neurobiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • Cerebellar organotypic slice cultures
  • Demyelination
  • Glial inflammatory response
  • Human samples
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • S100B

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