A medical test previously developed to measure a toxin found in tobacco smokers has been adapted to measure the same toxin in people suffering from spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis, offering a potential tool to reduce symptoms.
The toxin, called acrolein, is produced in the body after nerve cells are injured, triggering a cascade of biochemical events thought to worsen the injury's severity. Acrolein (pronounced a-KRO-le-an) also may play an important role in multiple sclerosis and other conditions.
The toxin is present in tobacco smoke and air pollutants. A method had been developed previously to detect and measure acrolein in the urine of smokers, but it has not been used in people suffering from conditions in which the body produces acrolein internally.
Two drugs have been shown to be effective in reducing acrolein levels in the body: hydralazine and phenelzine, which have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for hypertension and depression, respectively.
In laboratory animals, hydralazine has been shown to delay onset of multiple sclerosis for several days, which could mean several years in humans. Tests with animals also suggests the drug could help to reduce the most severe symptoms once the disease has progressed.
Acrolein has been found to be elevated by about 60 percent in the spinal cord tissues of mice with a disease similar to multiple sclerosis. The toxin causes harm by reacting with the proteins and lipids that make up cells, including neurons
If I have read it right, they have not tested or proved that the urine test works for SCI or MS in humans. The acrolein has been found higher in mice spinal cord tissue, that have EAE.