AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 2, 2018


Brain Cell Death is Possible MS Trigger

According to research published by researchers from the University of Chicago and Northwestern Medicine, multiple sclerosis (MS) may be triggered by the death of brain cells that make myelin. The death of these cells initiates an autoimmune response against myelin, the main characteristic of the disease, which leads to MS-like symptoms in mice. This reaction can be prevented, however, through the application of specially developed nanoparticles, even after the loss of those brain cells. The nanoparticles are now being developed for clinical trials that could lead to new treatments in humans. “Although this was a study in mice, we’ve shown for the first time one possible mechanism that can trigger MS — the death of the cells responsible for generating myelin can lead to the activation of an autoimmune response against myelin,” said the study’s lead researcher. By specifically killing oligodendrocytes, the research team observed MS-like symptoms that affected the ability of the mice to walk. After this initial event, the central nervous systems of the mice regenerated their myelin-producing cells, enabling them to walk again. However, six months later, the MS-like symptoms returned. “To our knowledge, this is the first evidence that oligodendrocyte death can trigger myelin autoimmunity, initiating inflammation and tissue damage in the central nervous system during MS.” To read more about this study, click here.

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