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 Unique genome architectures after fertilisation in single-cell embryos
30.03.2017 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

nachricht Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

'On-off switch' brings researchers a step closer to potential HIV vaccine

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Penn studies find promise for innovations in liquid biopsies

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

An LED-based device for imaging radiation induced skin damage

30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>