Here is another article about new discoveries regarding destruction of myelin. There is so much news anymore that it is hard to keep up with everything.
http://www.msrc.co.uk/index.cfm?fuseact ... N=50664116
A German team has found a new clue to the cause of MS, one that could lead to new treatments, says Roger Highfield
Molecules in the body that are thought to attack the “insulation” in nerves to cause multiple sclerosis have been
identified by scientists, providing a new way to diagnose and treat some people who have the devastating
Multiple Sclerosis is the most common disabling neurological disease among young adults and affects around
85,000 people in the UK. Inflammation leads to unsheathing of the myelin coating of nerve cells, so they
degenerate, causing weakness, fatigue and dependency.
Antibodies, mistakenly generated by the body against its own proteins, have been thought to contribute to the
inflammation and brain damage in MS but the exact nature of what the antibodies attack on the myelin has been
mysterious. In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Prof Bernhard Hemmer of the
Heinrich Heine-University, Düsseldorf, Germany and colleagues suggest that in some patients the disease can
be caused when antibodies attack MOG, a protein embedded in the myelin sheath.
Using a novel approach which allowed them to measure antibodies which bind to the MOG protein in the brain they
found evidence of circulating antibodies directed against MOG in patients with MS. When these antibodies were
exposed in the test tube to cells that made the MOG protein on their surface, the cells died. And rats exposed
to the anti-MOG antibodies suffered nerve damage, again implicating them in the disease.
The researchers conclude that, at least in a subgroup of MS patients, antibodies directed against MOG strip
nerve cells of their insulation. At present there is no drug that specifically blocks the anti-myelin MOG
antibodies but there are therapies that act on antibodies or B cells, which produce the antibodies,
said Prof Hemmer.
The new finding means that measuring anti-myelin antibodies might allow doctors to work out which patients
may profit from such treatments. And, in the longer term, drugs could be designed to interfere with the MOG
antibodies, turning off the attack on the nervous system. “Development of such specific therapies is in
an early stage,” said Prof Hemmer.
Source: Telegraph.co.uk © Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2006.