Defects on cell-surface sugars may promote the short-term inflammation and long-term neurodegeneration that occurs in the central nervous system of multiple sclerosis patients, according to University of California, Irvine researchers.
The findings also suggest that a dietary supplement similar to glucosamine may be useful as an oral therapy to correct these defects and to treat both the short-term and the long-term symptoms of the disease. Study results appear on the online version of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
“The findings raise the possibility that these may both be treated by metabolic therapy,” said Dr. Michael Demetriou, an assistant professor of neurology, and microbiology and molecular genetics. “This is particularly important, as therapies are not currently available to treat neurodegeneration in MS.”
In tests on mice, Demetriou found that genetic deficiencies in a process called protein glycosylation led to a spontaneous disease very similar to MS, including paralysis associated with inflammatory damage to the protective myelin coating on nerve cells and degeneration of axons and neurons. Protein glycosylation refers to the addition of specific sugars to proteins; virtually all cell-surface and secreted proteins have complex sugars attached to them.
MS is a two-stage disease, with initial attacks of inflammatory demyelination, which damages myelin, followed approximately 10 years later by a slow, progressive neurdegenerative phase marked by loss of axons and nerve cells.
The irreversible damage to the central nervous system induced by neurodegeneration in MS leads to long term disability, including paralysis, incoordination, dementia and pain, and is not targeted by currently available therapies.
Demetriou’s findings provide the first genetic model of MS in which both inflammatory demyelination and neurodegeneration arise from defects in a single biological pathway.
In previous studies, Demetriou found that the dietary supplement N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc), which is similar but more effective than the widely available glucosamine, corrected defects in protein glycosylation in cells and inhibited inflammatory demyelination in mice. The new study opens the possibility that metabolic therapy with GlcNAc may also prevent neurodegeneration. Studies in humans are required to assess the potential of this therapy in MS.
Tom Vasich | EurekAlert!
Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences
27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
27.10.2016 | Life Sciences