Glatiramer acetate (Copaxone) - A mixture that modulates for MS

  • random mixture of synthetic proteins, each made up of four amino acids (glutamic acid, lysine, alanine, and tyrosine - that spells GLATiramer!) that are found in myelin basic protein (MSP), a major protein component of myelin
    • myelin is the phospholipidy stuff that surrounds and electrically insulates certain neurons in the nervous system, permitting an increase in the speed at which they transmit electrical impulses and allowing us to do the complex things with our brains that we do
  • originally developed in the 1960s in an attempt to find drugs for multiple sclerosis (MS), was originally known as Copolymer 1
    • has subsequently been shown to reduce the frequency of relapse in people afflicted with active relapsing-remitting MS
    • MS is a chronic disease that features the loss of the myelin sheath covering neurons (demyelination) as the result of inappropriate inflammation in the central nervous system
  • can modulate the immune system, but unlike the majority of immunomodulators it is neither a steroid (e.g. prednisone) nor an cytokine (e.g. interferon)
    • since it resembles MBP, is thought to be able to compete with myelin for binding to antigen presenting cells and/or block the activation of T cells specific for myelin, ultimately reducing the autoimmune (immune system targeting things that are native to the body) response and allowing time for remyelination (repairing of myelin sheath) of neurons
    • may also induce the release of anti-inflammatory cytokines and suppress the actions of pro-inflammatory cells in the CNS
    • is effectively a vaccination against immune-mediated demyelination
  • injected subcutaneously on a daily basis
  • if you feel that you have a substance abuse problem or someone you love may be addicted to drug and alcohol, contact a California drug rehab center
- Ziemssen T, Schrempf W. Glatiramer Acetate: Mechanisms of Action in Multiple Sclerosis. Int Rev Neurobiol. 2007;79C:537-570.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glatiramer_acetate

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