Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Multiple Sclerosis: Benefactors in the Brain

10.07.2009
The inflammatory process in the brain of multiple sclerosis patients is triggered by their own immune system. However, there is one type of immune cells that seems to fight against the destructive progress - and might be used for therapeutic purposes in future.

These "beneficial" immune cells display a propensity to migrate from the blood into inflamed nervous tissue. "Drawn in by specific chemoattractants, they obviously counteract the detrimental effects of other immune cells in the brain," explains Heinz Wiendl, Professor at the Department of Neurology of the University of Würzburg.

Wiendl's research group presents this new research results in the journal Annals of Neurology. The findings are based on a variety of experiments using biomaterial from multiple sclerosis (MS) patients including blood, cerebrospinal fluid and tissue of the central nervous system (CNS).

A concept for a new form of therapy?

Thus, this work represents a demonstration of the existence of protective elements in the immune activities within the brain of MS patients. Conceptually this beneficial inflammatory factor should counterbalance inflammation in the CNS, but their impact obviously is not strong enough to dampen the disease. However, the notion of such activities might be enhanced in a therapeutic approach eventually benefiting the patients.

How can this be achieved? "An answer to this question as well as a possible practical approach is the long-term objective of our work," says Wiendl. But the next step for the Würzburg researchers is to characterize this regulatory T-cell population more precisely and to find ways of using them for therapeutic purposes.

Interesting molecules on the surface

The beneficial immune cells have been identified as so-called naturally regulatory T-cells. Wiendl's team discovered and described them in a publication in the journal Blood in 2007.

The characteristic of these cells: On their surface, they express a protein called HLA-G, which is attributed to have a strong immunosuppressive function. The signal for the migration of the cells into inflamed tissue is obviously influenced by another surface molecule, the so-called chemokine receptor CCR5. This is an additional new finding of the Würzburg scientists.

Multiple sclerosis: about the disease

Globally, approximately 2.5 million people are affected by multiple sclerosis; in Germany, there are about 122,000 patients according to current estimates. Here, approximately 2,500 new cases of the disease are diagnosed per year. Women aquire the disease almost twice as often as men.

In MS patients, the immune system mistakenly attacks the components of the nervous system, most prominently the nerve sheaths eventually destructing neural cells. Most often, the onset of the disease starts in early adulthood with relapsing remitting neurological symptoms. Initially people affected perceive tingling sensations in arms and legs, have walking disturbances or encounter visual problems. In the course of disease patients often acquire permanent disability. Some of them need a wheel-chair at later stages.

At the moment, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis; however, medical treatment can alleviate the symptoms of the patients and improve their quality of life. The Department of Neurology in Würzburg accommodates more than 2000 MS patients.

Specific Central Nervous System Recruitment of HLA-G+ Regulatory T Cells in Multiple Sclerosis, Huang YH, Zozulya A, Weidenfeller C, Metz I, Buck D, Toyka KV, Brück W, Wiendl H., Annals of Neurology 2009; DOI: 10.1002/ana.21705

Contact

Prof. Dr. Heinz Wiendl, T ++ 49 (931) 201-23755 or ++ 49 (931)201-23756, heinz.wiendl@klinik.uni-wuerzburg.de

About Heinz Wiendl

Professor Heinz Wiendl is in charge of the clinical research group for multiple sclerosis and neuroimmunology at the Department of Neurology of the University of Würzburg. The work of the research group is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Furthermore, Wiendl is currently the speaker of the Multiple Sclerosis Competence Network, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Robert Emmerich | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

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”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

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...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>