Title: A mathematical model of the multiple sclerosis plaque
Abstract: Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects white matter in the central nervous system. It is one of the primary causes of neurological disability among young people. Its characteristic pathological lesion is called a plaque, a zone of inflammatory activity and tissue destruction that expands radially outward by destroying the myelin and oligodendrocytes of white matter. The present paper develops a mathematical model of the multiple sclerosis plaques. Although these plaques do not provide reliable information of the clinical disability in MS, they are nevertheless useful as a primary outcome measure of Phase II trials. The model consists of a system of partial differential equations in a simplified geometry of the lesion, consisting of three domains: perivascular space, demyelinated plaque, and white matter. The model describes the activity of various pro- and anti-inflammatory cells and cytokines in the plaque and quantifies their effect on plaque growth. We show that volume growth of plaques is in qualitative agreement with reported clinical studies of several currently used drugs. We then use the model to explore treatments with combinations of such drugs, and with experimental drugs. We finally consider the benefits of early vs. delayed treatment.
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