Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Together they make you ill

24.07.2009
There are still gaps in our knowledge about the origin and course of complex diseases like multiple sclerosis. Now, researchers of the University of Würzburg have studied the interaction between two important factors - with a clear result.

Chronic inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) generally have a grave impact on the quality of life of the people concerned.

Although past research has already made great progress in this area, the triggers and causes of this disease group, which also includes multiple sclerosis, have not been clearly identified yet. Among the suspects, two factors stand out: An increased susceptibility of the central nervous system to external attacks and a malfunctioning immune system.

Damage to nerve cells and a defective immune system

Previously, it was not fully understood to what extent these two factors influence each other. Now, researchers of the University of Würzburg have succeeded in shedding some light on this question. The lead researchers of this study were the medical scientist Heinz Wiendl, head of the clinical research group for multiple sclerosis and neuroimmunology, and the neurobiologist Rudolf Martini, head of the Würzburg study group for developmental neurobiology, at the Department of Neurology of the University of Würzburg. They have now published the result of their research in the American Journal of Pathology.

The researchers had to consider three variables in their study: Mice suffering from a disease that is similar to multiple sclerosis; genetic modifications causing damage to the myelin sheath of the nerve cells - which is a kind of insulation layer; and an immune system that does not work properly. "The question was how a predetermined genetic modification of the myelin - in combination with or without the dysregulation of the immune system - would affect the inflammation of the central nervous system," explains Heinz Wiendl.

One factor alone is not sufficient

The result: If both factors - myelin damage and defective immune system - are present, the inflammatory response in the area of the central nervous system intensifies, leading to increased tissue damage. In contrast, dysfunctional immune cells by themselves do not cause any damage. "If these two genetic modifications come together in mice suffering from an experimental CNS inflammation, this causes an earlier onset and aggravated course of the disease," says Heinz Wiendl. The scientists were able to show that in these cases an increased quantity of immune cells penetrates into the CNS, where they release pro-inflammatory mediators. At the same time, the indicators of nerve cell damage were most clearly visible here.

Significance to humans

Translated to humans, this means: "Genetically determined modifications of the myelin formation or genetically determined dysregulations of the immune system as separate factors do not necessarily cause a disease manifestation," explains Heinz Wiendl. But if these two factors come together and an inflammatory response is directed against the CNS on this basis, the inflammation progresses more violently with significantly more tissue damage than it would without these "predisposing" factors. According to the two scientists, it can be concluded from these findings that a combination of various disease-promoting aspects influences the onset of the disease or the intensity of relapses in the case of multiple sclerosis as well.

Accelerated Course of Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis in PD-1-Deficient Central Nervous System Myelin Mutants. Antje Kroner, Nicholas Schwab, Chi Wang Ip, Sonja Ortler, Kerstin Göbel,Klaus-Armin Nave,Mathias Mäurer,Rudolf Martini and Heinz Wiendl. The American Journal of Pathology, Vol. 174, No. 6, June 2009, DOI: 10.2353/ajpath.2009.081012

Contact information:
Prof. Dr. Heinz Wiendl,
tel.: +49 (0)931 201-23755,
e-mail: heinz.wiendl@klinik.uni-wuerzburg.de

Gunnar Bartsch | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Minimising risks of transplants
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht FAU researchers demonstrate that an oxygen sensor in the body reduces inflammation
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>