The protease inhibitor, Bowman-Birk Inhibitor, suppresses experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis: A potential oral therapy for multiple sclerosis

Bruno Gran, N. Tabibzadeh, A. Martin, E. S. Ventura, J. H. Ware, G. X. Zhang, J. L. Parr, A. R. Kennedy, A. M. Rostami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations


Available treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS) require frequent injections and have significant side effects. Proteases generated during inflammation are involved in the induction of tissue damage during inflammatory demyelination in the central nervous system (CNS). The Bowman-Birk Inhibitor (BBI), a soy-derived protease inhibitor with anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties, has been shown to be well tolerated in clinical trials for pre-cancerous conditions, such as oral leukoplakia and the inflammatory disease, ulcerative colitis. We hypothesized that BBI may modulate experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of MS. The BBI concentrate (BBIC), a soybean extract enriched in BBI, was administered to myelin basic protein (MBP)-immunized Lewis rats by gastric gavage in different treatment regimens, during the induction or the effector phase of disease. BBIC significantly delayed disease onset and suppressed disease severity, clinically and pathologically, in all treatment protocols. Both in vitro and ex vivo, BBIC inhibited MBP-specific proliferation of lymph node cells. BBIC reduced the activity of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and -9 in spleen cell supernatants and was detected in the CNS of treated rats. BBIC suppresses EAE, it can be administered orally, and it is safe and relatively inexpensive. It may have a therapeutic role in patients with MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)688-697
Number of pages10
JournalMultiple Sclerosis
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2006
Externally publishedYes



  • Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
  • Immunology
  • Matrix metalloproteinase
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Protease inhibitor
  • Therapies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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