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Thursday

 

New Research: Could Our Own Myelin Be Triggering MS?






















Photo: Shutterstock

I once asked, in a video here on Everyday Health, how I “caught” multiple sclerosis. Many of us wonder why or how it is that MS started attacking our systems. Our hope is that knowing this could lead to more effective treatments and even a cure.

Well, researchers from Australia’s  of Wollongong may have stumbled onto a discovery with major implications as to the cause of multiple sclerosis while looking at the building blocks of myelin, the fatty tissue that surrounds and protects nerve fibers in the central nervous system.

Myelin Different in People With MS

The study, published in Acta Neuropathologica Communications in August 2016, found that the protein structure of myelin — called myelin basic protein (MBP), which the body uses to turn into myelin — is different in people with MS than in the general population.

The working theory to come out of the research is that two areas of MBP are weak or deficient in some way, which leads to an abnormal breakdown once myelin is formed. It’s possible that this early and atypical breakdown is what triggers the body’s immune response that leads to MS.

New Target for MS Treatment

Current MS medications target the inflammatory response or the immune system directly. If this new theory pans out, new medications could be used to bind to these two weak areas of MBP, thus stopping the immune response before it starts.

Professor Roger Truscott, one of the study’s two authors, cautions, “It is important to emphasize that this is not a cure for MS; however, for the first time, we have a target.”

This could be a major breakthrough in scientists’ understanding of the cause of MS, and it could, therefore, be a whole new avenue by which to attack the disease itself — rather than focusing treatment on the reaction of the body to the disease.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by EVERYDAYHEALTH
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length


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