Researchers from the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh have identified a mechanism essential for regenerating insulating layers – known as myelin sheaths – that protect nerve fibres in the brain.
In additional studies in rodents, they showed how this mechanism can be exploited to make the brain's own stem cells better able to regenerate new myelin.
In multiple sclerosis, loss of myelin leads to the nerve fibres in the brain becoming damaged. These nerve fibres are important as they send messages to other parts of the body.
The scientists believe that this research will help in identifying drugs to encourage myelin repair in multiple sclerosis patients.
Professor Robin Franklin, Director of the MS Society's Cambridge Centre for Myelin Repair at the University of Cambridge, said: "Therapies that repair damage are the missing link in treating multiple sclerosis. In this study we have identified a means by which the brain's own stem cells can be encouraged to undertake this repair, opening up the possibility of a new regenerative medicine for this devastating disease."
The study, funded by the MS Society in the UK and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in America, is published in Nature Neuroscience.
Professor Charles ffrench-Constant, of the University of Edinburgh's MS Society Centre for Multiple Sclerosis Research, said: "The aim of our research is to slow the progression of multiple sclerosis with the eventual aim of stopping and reversing it. This discovery is very exciting as it could potentially pave the way to find drugs that could help repair damage caused to the important layers that protect nerve cells in the brain."
Multiple sclerosis affects almost 100,000 people in the UK and several million worldwide. It often targets young adults between the ages of 20 and 40.
For more information please contact:Genevieve Maul, Office of Communications, University of Cambridge
2. For reaction to this research from the MS Society, please call Jenna Litchfield in the MS Society press office on 07798 631674.3. A picture of nerve fibres in rodents showing remyelination can be downloaded from http://jalbum.net/a/829951/
4. The MS Society is the UK's largest charity supporting people affected by multiple sclerosis.
Genevieve Maul | EurekAlert!
Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences
21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering
21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News