Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Link between cholesterol compound and multiple sclerosis unlikely, researchers say

New research findings appearing in the January Journal of Lipid Research indicate that compounds called oxysterols are not present in any significant amount in multiple sclerosis patients, contradicting a previous study that suggested that some of these cholesterol metabolites were associated with MS and could be used as diagnostic tools in the clinic.

Oxysterols are somewhat controversial in science; while some laboratory experiments suggest these steroid molecules may be biologically important, they are present in only trace amounts in the blood, and studies in living animals or humans have not convincingly proven a definitive role.

Therefore, there was great interest when a study published last year in the journal Nature Immunology reported that two oxysterols, known as 15HC and 15KC, were increased more than three-fold in the blood of MS patients, and that these oxysterols could be associated with the development of the disease.

Spurred by those findings, Ingemar Björkhem and colleagues at Sweden's prestigious Karolinska Institutet decided to perform their own analysis of blood samples using a combination of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, which vaporizes the samples and separates the component parts to allow for a thorough separation of all molecules; thus they could identify 15HC and 15KC levels even at low concentrations.

Despite numerous efforts, though, Björkhem and colleagues failed to find any meaningful 15HC or 15KC oxysterol levels in blood of healthy individuals or MS patients.

To ensure the oxysterols were not being lost or metabolized somewhere along the experimental chain, they also ran blood samples with pre-loaded oxysterols and recovered almost 100 percent of the loaded amount, demonstrating that the protocol was not the problem; any 15HC or 15KC present in the patient samples would have been found.

Björkhem notes that given the conflicting results of recent studies, the potential role of oxysterols in multiple sclerosis needs to be reconsidered.

In a commentary accompanying the new paper by Björkhem's team, William Griffiths and Yuqin Wang of the U.K.'s Swansea University, who were not involved in either study, said they suspect the original research team who reported the oxysterol discovery in 2009 "incorrectly identified [the compounds] in plasma, in which case their data would suggest that some unidentified lipids are increased in the circulation of patients with (MS)."

"It is important that these compounds are now identified," they added.

From the article:

High levels of 15-oxygenated steroids in circulation of patients with Multiple Sclerosis. Fact or fiction? by Ingemar Björkhem et al. Link:

Includes companion editorial, Are 15-oxygenated sterols present in the human circulation? by William Griffiths and Yuqin Wang. Link:

Corresponding Author: Ingemar Björkhem, Karolinska Institute, Sweden
Phone: +46-8-58581235 or +46-708 754434

Angela Hopp | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

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...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

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...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

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...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

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...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>