Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic demyelinating autoimmune disease primarily affecting young adults. Despite an unclear causal factor, symptoms and pathology arise from the infiltration of peripheral immune cells across the blood brain barrier. Accounting for the largest fraction of this infiltrate, macrophages are functionally heterogeneous innate immune cells capable of adopting either a pro or an anti-inflammatory phenotype, a phenomenon dependent upon cytokine milieu in the CNS. This functional plasticity is of key relevance in MS, where the pro-inflammatory state dominates the early stage, instructing demyelination and axonal loss while the later anti-inflammatory state holds a key role in promoting tissue repair and regeneration in later remission. This review highlights a potential therapeutic benefit of modulating macrophage polarisation to harness the anti-inflammatory and reparative state in MS. Here, we outline the role of macrophages in MS and look at the role of current FDA approved therapeutics in macrophage polarisation. Moreover, we explore the potential of particulate carriers as a novel strategy to manipulate polarisation states in macrophages, whilst examining how optimising macrophage uptake via nanoparticle size and functionalisation could offer a novel therapeutic approach for MS.
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