Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Findings on Multiple Sclerosis - Immune Cells Also Attack Neurons Directly

24.09.2010
Researchers in Germany have gained new insight into how the immune system causes damage associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), an incurable neuroinflammatory disorder.

Using imaging tools which enable investigation of processes in living organisms, Dr. Volker Siffrin and Professor Dr. Frauke Zipp (formerly Max Delbrück Center, MDC, Berlin-Buch, now University Medical Center Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz) were able to show a direct interaction between immune cells and neurons which plays a significant role in neuronal injury. However, this direct interaction may respond to therapeutic intervention (Immunity, DOI 10.1016/j.immuni.2010.08.018)*.


Immune cells (red) attack nerve cells of mice. This leads to lethally elevated calcium levels within the neurons. (Photo: Dr. Volker Siffrin/Copyright: MDC)

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s own immune system attacks the central nervous system. Symptoms of the disease are variable depending on which nerves are affected, but often include muscle weakness, walking difficulties, numbness and visual disturbances. Research has shown that MS is caused by damage to the protective myelin sheath, an insulating substance that surrounds nerve processes and is critical for transmission of nerve impulses.

Research has also indicated that direct damage to neurons is prominent in early disease stages. “The contribution of direct neuronal damage to MS pathology has been debated since the first description of the disease,” explained Professor Frauke Zipp, senior author of the study. “Although many different theories about possible underlying mechanisms have been proposed – such as neuron damage being a secondary effect of the disrupted myelin sheath – actual events leading to neural damage are not well understood.”

To investigate processes in the living organisms, Dr. Zipp and her colleagues used two-photon laser scanning microscopy (TPLSM), with which they studied the role immune cells play in neuronal damage in mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of MS. They observed direct synapse-like interactions between immune cells and neurons.

Immune cells called Th17 cells, which have been linked to autoimmune inflammation, induced elevated calcium levels in the neurons, which in the long run are toxic to the cells. Normally, calcium within the neuron plays a crucial role in exciting nerve cells as well as muscle cells.

This is significant because fluctuations in neuronal intracellular calcium levels that are linked to cell injury are partially reversible when the researchers expose the lesions of the animals to compounds used to treat excitotoxicity.

These results highlight a specific interaction between the immune system and the nervous system, implicating direct neuronal damage in autoimmune-mediated inflammation. “Our use of in vivo imaging during disease has led to the characterization of neuronal dysfunction as early and potentially reversible, and suggests that immune-mediated disturbances of the neurons themselves contribute to multiple sclerosis, in addition to interruptions in nerve cell transmission as a result of changes to the myelin sheath,” Professor Zipp concluded.

“Furthermore, immune-mediated reversible calcium increases in neurons are a potential target for future therapeutics.” However, it will take many years to find out if this is a strategy which will work for treating MS.

*In vivo imaging of partially reversible Th17 cell-induced neuronal dysfunction in the course of encephalomyelitis

Volker Siffrin,1,2* Helena Radbruch,2,3* Robert Glumm,2,3 Raluca Niesner,2,3 Magdalena Paterka,2 Josephine Herz,2,3 Tina Leuenberger,2 Sabrina M. Lehmann, 4 Sarah Luenstedt,2,3 Jan Leo Rinnenthal,2 Gregor Laube,4 Hervé Luche,5 Seija Lehnardt,4 Hans-Joerg Fehling,5 Oliver Griesbeck,6 Frauke Zipp1,2

* equal contribution
1Neurology Department, University Medical Center Mainz, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, 55131 Mainz, Germany
2Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine Berlin-Buch, 13125 Berlin, Germany
3Charité – University Medical Center Berlin, 10117 Berlin, Germany
4Institute of Cell Biology and Neurobiology, Charité - University Medicine Berlin, 10117 Berlin, Germany
5Institute of Immunology, University Clinics Ulm, Ulm, Germany
6Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, 82152 Martinsried, Germany
*Correspondence: frauke.zipp@unimedizin-mainz.de (F.Z.), siffrinv@gmx.de (V.S.)
A flash can be downloaded from the Internet at:
http://www.mdc-berlin.de/en/news/2010/20100921-new_findings_on_multiple_sclerosis_-_immun/index.html
Barbara Bachtler
Press and Public Affairs
Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch
Robert-Rössle-Straße 10
13125 Berlin, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 30 94 06 - 38 96
Fax: +49 (0) 30 94 06 - 38 33
e-mail: presse@mdc-berlin.de
Dr. Renée Dillinger-Reiter
Communication and Press
University Medical Center Mainz
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Langenbeckstraße 1
55131 Mainz , Germany
Phone +49 (0) 6131 17-7428
Fax +49 (0) 6131 17-3496
e-mail: renee.dillinger-reiter@unimedizin-mainz.de

Barbara Bachtler | Max-Delbrück-Centrum
Further information:
http://www.mdc-berlin.de/
http://www.unimedizin-mainz.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Tag it EASI – a new method for accurate protein analysis
19.06.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

nachricht How to track and trace a protein: Nanosensors monitor intracellular deliveries
19.06.2018 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

Im Focus: Water is not the same as water

Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New material for splitting water

19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Cementless fly ash binder makes concrete 'green'

19.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Overdosing on Calcium

19.06.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>