Inflammation and oligodendrocyte loss are both found together in multiple sclerosis but which comes first?
Does inflammation cause oligodendrocyte death, does oligodendrocyte death cause inflammation or are they both caused by a third process, perhaps a virus?
Recent research has looked at the brains of people who have died in the very early stages of MS lesion development and found that oligodendrocyte death actually precedes inflammation
Although few would deny that the inflammation contributes to MS damage, this work has the potential to turn the world of MS research upside-down. It suggests that looking for an autoimmune cause for MS may be misguided. It also challenges the current anti-inflammatory focus of most MS therapies. Are we, by analogy, treating a broken pipe by sticking a bucket under it rather than fixing the leak? That's not to say that these therapies don't produce results, just that tackling inflammation may not be the optimal stategy. For people with MS, this is a space to watch eagery.
It is probable that there are more than just genes at work.