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Repurposing Histaminergic Drugs in Multiple Sclerosis (01a Articolo in rivista)

Amadio Susanna, Conte Federica, Esposito Giorgia, Fiscon Giulia, Paci Paola, Volonté Cinzia

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease with a strong neuroinflammatory component that contributes to severe demyelination, neurodegeneration and lesions formation in white and grey matter of the spinal cord and brain. Increasing attention is being paid to the signaling of the biogenic amine histamine in the context of several pathological conditions. In multiple sclerosis, histamine regulates the differentiation of oligodendrocyte precursors, reduces demyelination, and improves the remyelination process. However, the concomitant activation of histamine H1-H4 receptors can sustain either damaging or favorable effects, depending on the specifically activated receptor subtype/s, the timing of receptor engagement, and the central versus peripheral target district. Conventional drug development has failed so far to identify curative drugs for multiple sclerosis, thus causing a severe delay in therapeutic options available to patients. In this perspective, drug repurposing offers an exciting and complementary alternative for rapidly approving some medicines already approved for other indications. In the present work, we have adopted a new network-medicine-based algorithm for drug repurposing called SAveRUNNER, for quantifying the interplay between multiple sclerosis-associated genes and drug targets in the human interactome. We have identified new histamine drug-disease associations and predicted off-label novel use of the histaminergic drugs amodiaquine, rupatadine, and diphenhydramine among others, for multiple sclerosis. Our work suggests that selected histamine-related molecules might get to the root causes of multiple sclerosis and emerge as new potential therapeutic strategies for the disease.
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