Society-Funded Researchers Show How Brain “Plumbing” May Trigger MS-Like Immune Attacks in Mice
September 17, 2018
In the latest of a series of recent discoveries about a previously underappreciated network of drainage tubes (“lymphatic vessels”) in the brain, National MS Society-funded researchers at the University of Virginia and elsewhere report more details about the function of these tubes and how they connect the brain to the immune system. In a paper published today in Nature Neuroscience
, Dr. Jonathan Kipnis and colleagues show that during inflammation such as what occurs in MS, immune cells within the lymphatic vessels receive signals that encourage immune attacks on brain tissues in mice with MS-like disease. They also found that blocking the tubes reduced disease severity in the mice. Although this treatment approach would likely be impractical or harmful to people, this study provides new clues to how damaging immune attacks may be triggered in MS, and may offer new avenues for stopping them in the future.