Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Selectively blocking inflammatory signals may protect mice from MS

10.05.2006
A new way to preserve the cells that surround and protect nerves could lead to new treatments for demyelinating diseases such a multiple sclerosis, a research team reports in the May 10, 2006, issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

The approach grew out of a novel explanation, quickly gaining followers, for the mechanism of nerve damage caused by multiple sclerosis. Instead of concentrating on the alterations that result in autoimmune assaults on the nervous system, researchers led by Brian Popko of the University of Chicago have focused on a set of factors that prevent recovery from the inflammatory attacks.

A series of papers from Popko’s lab has demonstrated that interferon-gamma -- a chemical signal used to activate the immune system -- plays a critical role in damaging the cells that produce myelin, the protective coating that lines healthy nerves. Interferon not only leaves these cells, called oligodendrocytes, incapable of repairing the damage but can also kill them directly.

"Interferon-gamma is not normally found in the nervous system," said Popko, the Jack Miller Professor of Neurological Diseases at the University of Chicago, "but it can gain entry after an inflammatory flare-up. We previously showed how it harmed oligodendrocytes. Here we confirm its direct harmful effects on those cells and demonstrate one way of protecting them."

The researchers produced a series of transgenic mice. In one set they introduced genes that produced interferon-gamma within the central nervous system. In another set they also introduced a gene (known as suppressor of cytokine signaling 1, or SOCS1) that blocked the response of myelin-producing cells to interferon-gamma.

Although transgenic mice with low levels of interferon-gamma showed no symptoms of nervous system damage, 18 out of 20 mice exposed to higher interferon levels developed difficulty walking, including mild to moderate tremors, within two weeks of birth. Only four out of 20 mice with both high interferon levels and the SOCS1 gene had symptoms.

On autopsy, mice with high interferon levels in the nervous system had severe loss of oligodendrocytes, ranging from 20 to 40 percent. Those with the protective SOCS1 gene lost only eight to 15 percent.

High interferon levels were also associated with loss of myelin sheaths around nerve connections and unprotected axons in the brain. Again, SOCS1 was able to reduce the damage.

"Together," the researchers wrote, "these data demonstrate that oligodendroglial expression of SOCS1 protects mice from the clinical and morphological consequences of IFN-gamma expression in the central nervous system during development."

"We found this tremendously encouraging," said Popko. "SOCS1 prevented or reduced the harmful effects of interferon gamma on myelin-producing cells. This study solidifies our suspicions about interferon’s specific role in demyelinating disease and suggests ways to block it."

Although there is currently no reliable way to deliver SOCS1 directly to the nerves of a patient with multiple sclerosis, this protective approach could be combined with stem cell therapy to repair nerve damage. Several research groups are already studying the use of stem cells to repair damaged myelin sheaths, but in the long term those stem cells would be vulnerable to ongoing immune-mediated damage.

But if stem cells could be engineered to resist harmful signals such as interferon-gamma, they might be protected from the "harsh environment" present in immune mediated demyelinated lesions, said Popko.

John Easton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uchospitals.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>