ACS Chemical Neuroscience, vol.14, no.4, pp.527-553, 2023 (SCI-Expanded)
© 2023 American Chemical Society.Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory and neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system (CNS). Although emerging evidence has shown that changes in neurotransmitter levels in the synaptic gap may contribute to the pathophysiology of MS, their specific role has not been elucidated yet. In this review, we aim to analyze preclinical and clinical evidence on the structural and functional changes in neurotransmitters in MS and critically discuss their potential role in MS pathophysiology. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that alterations in glutamate metabolism may contribute to MS pathophysiology, by causing excitotoxic neuronal damage. Dysregulated interaction between glutamate and GABA results in synaptic loss. The GABAergic system also plays an important role, by regulating the activity and plasticity of neural networks. Targeting GABAergic/glutamatergic transmission may be effective in fatigue and cognitive impairment in MS. Acetylcholine (ACh) and dopamine can also affect the T-mediated inflammatory responses, thereby being implicated in MS-related neuroinflammation. Also, melatonin might affect the frequency of relapses in MS, by regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Increased levels of nitric oxide in inflammatory lesions of MS patients may be also associated with axonal neuronal degeneration. Therefore, neurotransmitter imbalance may be critically implicated in MS pathophysiology, and future studies are needed for our deeper understanding of their role in MS.