Study identifies protein to repair damaged brain tissue in MS

February 7, 2014, Children's National Medical Center

Vittorio Gallo, PhD, Director of the Center for Neuroscience Research at Children's National Health System, and other researchers have found a "potentially novel therapeutic target" to reduce the rate of deterioration and to promote growth of brain cells damaged by multiple sclerosis (MS). Current therapies can be effective in patients with relapsing MS, but have little impact in promoting tissue growth.

The brain produces new cells to repair the damage from MS years after symptoms appear. However, in most cases the cells are unable to complete the repair, as unknown factors limit this process. In MS patients, in random patches, or lesions, leads to destruction of myelin, the fatty covering that insulates nerve cell fibers called axons in the brain, and aids in transmission of signals to other neurons.

In yesterday's publication of Neuron, Gallo, who also is a professor of pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), reported identifying a small protein that can be targeted to promote repair of damaged tissue, with therapeutic potential. The molecule, Endothelin-1 (ET-1), is shown to inhibit repair of myelin. Myelin damage is a hallmark characteristic of MS. The study demonstrates that blocking ET-1 pharmacologically or using a genetic approach could promote myelin repair.

Repair of damaged MS plaques is carried out by endogenous oliogdendrocytle progenitor cells (OPCs) in a process called remyelination. Current MS therapy can be effective in patients with relapsing and remitting MS, but "have little impact in promoting remyelination in tissue," Gallo said. Several studies have shown that OPCs fail to differentiate in chronic MS lesions.

Targeting ET-1 is a process that involves identifying signals in cells that could promote lesion repair. "We demonstrate that ET-1 drastically reduces the rate of remyelination," Gallo said. As such, ET-1 is "potentially a to promote lesion repair in deymyelinated tissue." It could play a "crucial role in preventing normal myelination in MS and in other demyelinating diseases," Gallo said.

Explore further: MS research could help repair damage affecting nerves

More information: www.cell.com/neuron/abstract/S0896-6273(13)01083-0

Related Stories

MS research could help repair damage affecting nerves

July 21, 2013
Multiple sclerosis treatments that repair damage to the brain could be developed thanks to new research.

Researchers discover potential way to repair brain damage in multiple sclerosis

October 31, 2012
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University have discovered that blocking a certain enzyme in the brain can help repair the brain damage associated with multiple sclerosis and a range of other neurological disorders.

Study identifies new approach to improving treatment for MS and other conditions

May 17, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Working with lab mice models of multiple sclerosis (MS), UC Davis scientists have detected a novel molecular target for the design of drugs that could be safer and more effective than current FDA-approved ...

Mayo Clinic uses new approach to reverse multiple sclerosis in mice models

June 28, 2012
Mayo Clinic researchers have successfully used smaller, folded DNA molecules to stimulate regeneration and repair of nerve coatings in mice that mimic multiple sclerosis (MS). They say the finding, published today in the ...

Hopes for reversing age-associated effects in MS patients

January 6, 2012
New research highlights the possibility of reversing ageing in the central nervous system for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. The study is published today, 06 January, in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

Bacterial toxin a potential trigger for multiple sclerosis

January 28, 2014
Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College have added to the growing body of evidence that multiple sclerosis may be triggered by a toxin produced by common foodborne bacteria. The presented their research at the 2014 ...

Recommended for you

Mechanisms of harmful overhydration and brain swelling

May 22, 2018
We are all familiar with the drawbacks of dehydration, but we rarely hear about the harmful effects of overhydration. For one, excess fluid accumulation can lead to dangerously low sodium levels in the blood or hyponatremia—a ...

Mice brain structure linked with sex-based differences in anxiety behavior

May 22, 2018
Using male individuals has long been a tradition in scientific mice studies. But new research enforces the importance of using a balanced population of male and female mice.

Cell types underlying schizophrenia identified

May 22, 2018
Scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and University of North Carolina have identified the cell types underlying schizophrenia in a new study published in Nature Genetics. The findings offer a roadmap for the development ...

Subtle hearing loss while young changes brain function, study finds

May 22, 2018
Cranking up your headphones or scrambling for a front-row spot at rock shows could be damaging more than your hearing.

In brain stimulation therapy less might be more

May 22, 2018
One of the promising non-invasive brain therapeutic methods is the repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). During such a procedure, a magnetic coil is placed near the head of the patient and a magnetic pulse ...

What helps form long-term memory also drives the development of neurodegenerative disease

May 22, 2018
Scientists have just discovered that a small region of a cellular protein that helps long-term memories form also drives the neurodegeneration seen in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). This small part of the Ataxin-2 protein ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.