Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Milestone in MS research: neuroimmunologists find cause of deficit in body’s own immune system

13.05.2016

Scientists from the universities in Münster and Munich have discovered what precisely goes wrong in the body in the case of multiple sclerosis (MS). At the same time the neuroscientists were able to demonstrate that for MS, which occurs in bouts, there is a therapy which is tailor-made to eliminate the deficit.

The researchers involved are talking of a milestone: neuroimmunologists and neuropathologists from the universities in Münster and Munich have discovered what precisely goes wrong in the body in the case of multiple sclerosis (MS). Cells in the innate immune system – the natural killer cells (NK cells) – no longer fulfil their function with MS.


Dr. Catharina Groß, Prof. Heinz Wiendl and Dr. Andreas Schulte-Mecklenbeck at work in the laboratory

Photo: FZ

They cannot sufficiently keep in check the effector T cells, which are the cells that cause damage in the body in the case of MS. At the same time the neuroscientists were able to demonstrate that for MS, which occurs in bouts, there is a therapy which is tailor-made to eliminate the deficit – a blockade of the interleukin-2 receptor.

The drug used for this – Daclizumab – has just been recommended for approval by the European Medicines Agency EMA, so patients will soon be able to use it in their therapy. The effects of the new drug have already been demonstrated in clinical studies, in which the Münster neuroimmunologists were also involved. Their results, achieved in Collaborative Research Centre TR128 (“Multiple Sclerosis”), can be seen in the latest issue of the prestigious journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”.

A healthy immune system functions like an efficient police check on traffic: anyone found speeding – in this case, autoreactive T lymphocytes – are singled out and punished. On the other hand, just the threat of a traffic fine is sufficient to prevent the majority of drivers from speeding.

This is how people posing a potential threat to others are held in check. In the case of multiple sclerosis, however, this check does not function properly. Autoreactive T cells cross the blood-brain barrier unhindered and pass into the brain, where they attack the nerve cells’ protective layer. Using the traffic image again: anyone speeding is not stopped and they cause serious accidents.

Project leaders Dr. Catharina Groß and Prof. Heinz Wiendl from the Department of General Neurology at Münster University Hospital demonstrated that cells from the body’s innate immune system – the NK cells – help decisively to keep dangerous autoreactive cells in check in healthy people. The researchers were even able to decipher the precise molecular mechanism which NK cells use to protect the immune system.

They also revealed that, in the case of MS, not only do the monitoring mechanisms of the immune system fail, but the harmful T cells also use tricks to evade any control on the part of the natural killer cells – just as if traffic offenders were to remove the number plates from their car so as not to be identified.

And one more thing the scientists showed was that there is a promising drug – Daclizumab, a monoclonal antibody – to counteract the interleukin-2 receptor and strengthen the immune-regulatory function of the NK cells. Support, so to speak, in monitoring the traffic. “We were able to demonstrate that Daclizumab not only reinforces the positive immune-regulatory function of the natural killer cells,“ says Dr. Groß, whose work was supported with funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Together with her colleagues, one of the things she did was to analyse blood from patients with multiple sclerosis who had already been treated with the new substance. This substance, she says, leads to the harmful T cells again becoming more receptive to regulation by the NK cells. The European Medicines Agency EMA recommended at the end of April that the substance be approved after successful Phase II and Phase III studies on MS patients.

Research successes like this one need not only the expertise of neuroimmunologists in Münster, as Prof. Heinz Wiendl, who heads both the project and a working group, stresses. What progressed the project in particular was the collaboration with neuroscientists Prof. Reinhard Hohlfeld and Dr. Klaus Dornmair from Munich University and Prof. Tanja Kuhlmann from the Department of Neuropathology at Münster University. All these people work together as part of Collaborative Research Centre TR128 (“Multiple Sclerosis”), funded by the German Research Foundation. The Centre’s translational platform provided the blood and cerebrospinal fluid samples from patients which required for analysis.


Publication:

Gross CC, Schulte-Mecklenbeck A, Rünzi A, Kuhlmann T, Posevitz-Fejfár A, Schwab N, Schneider-Hohendorf T, Herich A, Held K, KonjeviM, Hartwig M, Dornmair K, Hohlfeld R, Ziemssen T, Klotz L, Meuth SG, Wiendl H, Impaired NK-mediated regulation of T-cell activity in multiple sclerosis is reconstituted by IL-2 receptor modulation. PNAS 2016; published ahead of print May 9, 2016, doi:10.1073/pnas.1524924113

Contact:

Dr. Thomas Bauer
Universitätsklinikum Münster
GB Unternehmenskommunikation
Domagkstraße 5
48149 Münster
Tel. 0251-83-58937
mobil: 0171-4948979

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/05/04/1524924113.abstract?sid=50ecc138-88... Original publication (PNAS)

Dr. Christina Heimken | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>