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Myelin-Making Cells May Act Up in the MS Immune Response, Says New Research

November 20, 2018

Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm report that cells that make nerve-insulating myelin, which is targeted by damaging immune attacks in multiple sclerosis, may in some circumstances actually participate in those immune attacks. Studying mice with an MS-like disease, and brain tissue obtained from people with MS, the team found that in disease conditions the myelin-making cells, called oligodendrocytes, are instructed by some of the same genes that direct immune cells. Rather than just making myelin, these oligodendrocytes may help to activate or promote the immune response that results in damage in MS. For this study, the team used novel genetics technology that allowed them to analyze the genetic activity within a single cell. Understanding these new findings might lead to new ways to protect the nervous system and resume normal repair mechanisms in people with MS.

Read more from KI News

Read the scientific summary in Nature Medicine

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. There is currently no cure for MS. Symptoms vary from person to person and range from numbness and tingling, to mobility challenges, blindness and paralysis. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.

About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The National MS Society, founded in 1946, funds cutting-edge research, drives change through advocacy, and provides programs and services to help people affected by MS live their best lives. Connect to learn more and get involved: nationalMSsociety.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or 1-800-344-4867.

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