New findings by a research team from the University of Edinburgh may help explain why diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS) which attack the myelin sheath – an insulator which protects the bodys nervous system - cause such severe symptoms in MS patients. Their discoveries may lead to new ways to help treat patients with MS, it is reported in the journal Neuron today (Thursday, 8 December).
The scientists have made an important breakthrough in understanding how animals with complex nervous systems, such as humans, achieve rapid signalling between their nerve cells. Communication between nerve cells and other organs such as muscles needs to be extremely fast, so that the body responds quickly to instructions from the brain. Electrical signals can travel rapidly from the brain because they jump down nerves using specialised hotspots called nodes.
Professor Peter Brophy of the Centre for Neuroscience Research at the Unversity and leader of the study explained: "It has been known for some time that the location of the nodes along nerves is determined by specialised cells called glia, which surround nerves with a myelin sheath. The nerves of babies are surrounded by these glial cells in the first few years after birth, which ensures proper development of the human nervous system. If nerves do not get their myelin sheath, or if they lose it later because of diseases like MS, the nodes either dont form, or are disrupted, leading to a serious loss of nervous system function, which in turn can lead to blindness, paralysis or even death."
Linda Menzies | EurekAlert!
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Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
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