Background: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory and demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. Oxidative stress plays a major role in the onset and progression of MS. Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) formation is dependent on oxidative stress status.

Objective: We examined whether alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) as a potent antioxidant could improve the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and decrease plasma level of ADMA in multiple sclerosis patients.

Methods: In a randomized, double-blinded clinical trial conducted at Sina Hospital in Tehran, Iran, from September 2009 to July 2011, 24 patients with relapsing-remitting MS were divided into a treatment group receiving ALA (1200mg/day) for 12 weeks and a control group receiving placebo. Then patients’ EDSS and Plasma levels of ADMA were measured at baseline and 12 weeks later. Statistical analysis was done by SPSS software version 16 using the K-S test, Chi square, Mann–Whitney U-test and Wilcoxon test.

Results: The plasma levels of ADMA in the intervention group were decreased significantly (p=0.04). Also, no patient had increased EDSS score in the supplement group, where 2 out of 12 patients in the placebo group experienced so. Comparing the serum level of ADMA between the two groups failed to show any significant change in the supplement group compared with the control group.

Conclusion: Considering that ADMA is produced by oxidative stress in MS patients and leads to increase of inflammation, ALA may have the potential of beneficial effects in them, in part, by decreasing the plasma level of ADMA and stopping progression.

Trial registration: The trial was registered at the Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials (http://www.irct.ir) with the Irct ID: No. IRCT138812222602N2.

Funding: The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


Keywords: Lipoic acid, Multiple sclerosis, Inflammation, Asymmetric dimethylarginine
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