Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Multiple sclerosis progression linked to immune-cell substance

20.10.2005


A new study suggests that a substance made by immune cells plays a key role in the progression of a disease in animals that closely mimics multiple sclerosis (MS). The findings further suggest that blocking the molecule, known as macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) might prevent the progression of the disease.



Researchers at The Ohio State University Medical Center conducted the study using mice that develop a disease that mimics MS. They compared these animals to similar mice that lacked MIF, an immune-system signaling molecule.

The results show that the animals without MIF develop the initial, acute phase of the disease, but then show no signs of further progression.


The study is published as a Cutting Edge paper in the November 1, 2005, issue of the Journal of Immunology.

“Our results suggest that MIF may be less important for initiating MS, but that it may be necessary for MS progression,” says principal investigator Caroline C. Whitacre, professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics.

“These findings indicate that in the future we can perhaps use MIF levels to predict the onset of a relapse. But more importantly, perhaps this study will lead to drugs that can halt the course of MS by blocking the action of MIF.”

MS is an inflammatory, autoimmune disease which primarily affects the brain and spinal cord. Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s own immune cells destroy tissues in the body. In MS, immune cells destroy the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. Myelin is a fatty substance that insulates nerve fibers and enables them to transmit impulses.

According to the National MS Society, about 400,000 Americans are living with MS and about 10,400 new cases are diagnosed yearly. The disease usually strikes between the ages of 20 and 40, and it is more common in women. MS symptoms vary from person to person. Some individuals experience unusual fatigue, numbness and tingling; others can have loss of balance and difficulty walking; still others develop slurred speech, double vision, tremors or bladder problems.

In about 85 percent of cases, MS shows a pattern of remission and relapse, with no warning as to when a relapse will occur.

For this study, Whitacre and a group of colleagues used mice that develop the MS-like condition known as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). The mice develop the disease after being inoculated with a myelin protein. The researchers compared these mice to mice that were identical except that they lacked the gene for MIF.

After inoculation, the mice with the MIF gene showed progressive EAE. In contrast, the mice lacking the MIF gene showed signs of early disease, but after about 20 days, these mice recovered and showed no further sign of progression.

The study also gave the investigators insights into the mechanism by which MIF influences the course of disease. They found that MIF blocked the steroid hormone, corticosterone (known as cortisol, in humans). Animals missing MIF had high levels of the steroid, while those with MIF showed very low levels.

The level of the steroid hormone, in turn, caused important immune-system changes in the animals that are likely to affect the disease.

For example, the mice with MIF (and low levels of the steroid hormone) showed high levels of immune-system cytokines or products that promote inflammation. Mice that lacked MIF (and had high levels of the steroid), on the other hand, showed high levels of immune-system cytokines or products that suppress inflammation .

“Our evidence overall suggests that the inhibition of this steroid hormone by MIF has an important influence on the immune system and in determining whether the disease progresses or not,” Whitacre says.

Funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases supported this research.

Darrell E. Ward | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.osumc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Staying in Shape
16.08.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik

nachricht Chips, light and coding moves the front line in beating bacteria
16.08.2018 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Staying in Shape

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Diving robots find Antarctic seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide in winter

16.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Protein droplets keep neurons at the ready and immune system in balance

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>