March 14, 2018 (Medical News Today)
A new study published in the journal JCI Insight, has identified a new potential therapeutic target for MS.
MS begins when T cells enter the brain. These white blood cells erode myelin and create lesions in the brain that leave the nerve cells exposed. As the lesions become progressively worse, nerves become more damaged and this interrupts the electrical flow from the brain to the body’s muscles.
In this study, researchers examined donated brain tissues. They discovered that brains of people with MS had very high levels of calnexin (a protein), versus brains that did not have MS. Following this discovery, the research team used a mouse model to examine a living example of the affect of calnexin on the brain.
The mice that did not have calnexin were found to be “completely resistant” to MS. Study co-author Marek Michalak explained, “When there is too much calnexin, this wall gives angry T cells access to the brain where they destroy myelin.”
This new information could lead to new therapies for MS. Michalak says that the challenge will be to figure out how calnexin is involved in the controlling the function of the blood-brain barrier.
Read more about this fascinating study at Medical News Today.