Society-Funded Researchers Report Observation About Remyelination
November 28, 2018
Multiple sclerosis damages tissues in the brain and spinal cord, including myelin, the insulating coating on nerve fibers which is made by cells called oligodendrocytes. Finding ways to stimulate the repair of myelin (remyelination) and to protect against damage is a key research priority
for the National MS Society.
The brain has spare immature cells that can move to an area of damage, mature and then begin the process of myelin regeneration. An unanswered question has been whether all remyelination is done by these immature cells, or whether intact adult oligodendrocytes that are already supplying nerve fibers with myelin can engage in remyelination after damage has occurred. A paper recently published by Society-funded researcher Dr. Ian Duncan (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and his colleagues provides evidence, based on microscopic examination of tissues from lab models, that adult oligodendrocytes may participate in remyelination.
Findings such as these, if confirmed by additional research, help build a body of knowledge needed to find ways to restore function in individuals living with MS.
Read the scientific abstract of the paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Read more about research to repair nervous system damage
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. Currently there is no cure. Symptoms vary from person to person and may include disabling fatigue, mobility challenges, cognitive changes, and vision issues. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to minimize disability. Significant progress is being made to achieve a world free of MS.