Sarah Sternbach, Jennifer McDonough
This chapter provides an in-depth look at the compound betaine and its relevance to multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is a debilitating autoimmune disease of the central nervous system where the body attacks the myelin sheath of axons, leading to demyelination and focal lesions in the brain. Betaine is a glycine derivative that functions in cellular osmoregulation and acts in transmethylation reactions as a methyl donor. This chapter explores the MS phenotype and the functions of betaine as an osmolyte and methyl donor, as well as its specific effects on gene transcription through methionine metabolism. An outline of potential therapeutic epigenetic targets for exogenous betaine supplementation to alleviate MS disability is included. We also provide an overview of another compound of interest, ursolic acid.