Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A protein fragment called 12.5 kda cystatin may generate first simple test for multiple sclerosis

06.03.2006


Johns Hopkins scientists report the discovery of a protein found only in cerebrospinal fluid that they say might be useful in identifying a subgroup of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) or identifying those at risk for the debilitating autoimmune disorder.



MS strikes over 10,000 Americans each year, most of whom are women, and causes weakness, numbness, a loss of muscle coordination, and problems with vision, speech, and bladder control. It is a disorder in which the immune system destroys myelin, the covering of nerves that helps transmit signals. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is the watery fluid that surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord.

The federally funded Hopkins research, reported in the February issue of the Annals of Neurology, is important, the researchers say, because unlike other autoimmune diseases in which the body attacks its own tissues, MS cannot be diagnosed with a simple blood or other test.


While it is recognized that there might be several forms of MS, laboratory-based tests need to be developed to diagnose these subtypes.

"There is the possibility now that the protein we identified, 12.5 kDa cystatin, can be used to diagnose MS, perhaps in its earliest stages, and also to monitor treatment by measuring its levels in CSF," says Avindra Nath, M.D., a professor in the Department of Neurology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and lead author of the study.

Working with human CSF, the Hopkins team showed that 12.5 kDa cystatin is a breakdown product of a larger protein called cystatin C or 13.4kDa, which in turn blocks activity of some enzymes, including cathepsin B. Cathepsin B has been linked to demyelination-the destruction of the nerve sheath. The term kDa refers to Kilodalton, the weight of one molecule of a substance.

"In fact, those patients who had more of the breakdown product of 12.5 kDa cystatin also seemed to have the highest cathepsin B inhibition," Nath said.

The investigators made their finding using a sophisticated technique called SELDI-time-of-flight mass spectroscopy that can find one specific protein in a complex mixture based on its weight. They used it to examine CSF samples from 29 patients with MS or pre-MS symptoms such as numbness on one side; 27 patients with transverse myelitis, a painful inflammation of spinal cord nerves; 50 infected with the AIDS virus (which can cause nerve damage); and 27 with other neurological diseases. The Hopkins scientists analyzed CSF instead of blood samples because CSF better represents local events in the brain than does blood, according to Nath. And the high concentrations of many proteins in the blood can mask proteins that might be biomarkers for MS, he added.

The team found that the 12.5kDa fragment of cystatin C occurred in CSF samples from two-thirds of patients with MS or the pre-MS conditions. Moreover, although total cystatin C levels in MS patients were not different from control patients without the disease, patients with MS had a larger proportion of the 12.5 kDa compared to 13.4 kDa cystatin C than did other patients. Thus, the presence of the 12.5 kDa fragment might identify a subgroup of MS patients.

Eric Vohr | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jhmi.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Protein interaction helps Yersinia cause disease
21.08.2018 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council

nachricht Nanobot pumps destroy nerve agents
21.08.2018 | American Chemical Society

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

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....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | 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

 
Latest News

A paper battery powered by bacteria

21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Protein interaction helps Yersinia cause disease

21.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Biosensor allows real-time oxygen monitoring for 'organs-on-a-chip'

21.08.2018 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>