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!
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences
29.05.2017 | Life Sciences
29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy