Awarded to Adam Kaplin, MD, PhD
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Cognitive impairment occurs in roughly 50% of patients with Multiple Sclerosis and pilot data suggests that such changes are also comparably prevalent in TM patients. Currently there are no treatments, even experimental ones, that have been shown to improve autoimmune cognitive impairment. The goal of this study is to evaluate the therapeutic potential of carbenoxolone (CBX) for the treatment of transverse myelitis (TM), especially the associated cognitive impairment, using three unique animal models of TM. Carbenoxolone (CBX) is a compound that regulates endogenous cortisol levels. CBX inhibits the activity of the enzyme 11b-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 (11b-HSD1), decreasing the rate of formation and concentration of cortisol. Increased cortisol levels cause degeneration of the hippocampus, a brain region that mediates the generation and recall of memories, and impaired spatial memory. Hippocampal degeneration has been demonstrated in a variety of disorders that often result in cognitive deficits, including MS.