New Study Unravels How Myelin is Repaired, May Suggest New MS Treatments

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Japanese scientists have discovered new information about how the myelin sheath is repaired following damage. Myelin is a fatty substance that wraps around nerve cells and helps them to conduct impulses. The research could have major implications for how multiple sclerosis is understood and even treated. The study, titled Inactivation of Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase Receptor Type Z by Pleiotrophin Promotes Remyelination through Activation of Differentiation of Oligodendrocyte Precursor Cells,” appeared in the Journal of Neuroscience on Sept. 2, 2015.

The symptoms of multiple sclerosis are due to an immune attack on the body’s own myelin. When myelin is lost around nerve cells, this can cause unpredictable loss of movement, sensation, vision problems and feelings of pain. Myelin is made by special nervous system cells called oligodendrocytes. Although it is well-known that myelin can be repaired by oligodendrocytes if it is damaged, scientists do not understand the exact repair mechanisms used by these cells. In MS, myelin unfortunately does not appear to be easily repaired, also for unknown reasons.

The researchers, led by Professor Masaharu Noda and colleagues of the National Institute for Basic Biology, wanted to study how myelin is repaired in mice with an experimental form of MS, induced by the myelin-damaging drug cuprizone. They studied both normal mice and genetically altered mice that lacked the protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor type Z (PTPRZ), which is a protein that may cause oligodendrocytes to turn into mature cells, rather than stay in a more immature stage.

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Following loss of myelin with cuprizone, the mice that lacked PTPRZ had more myelin repair than the normal mice. The researchers also found that a protein called pleiotrophin (PTN), seemed to be associated with remyelination in the mouse brains, suggesting that it may inactivate PTPRZ. When studied in vitro (in a dish), oligodendrocytes treated with PTN turned into a form that creates new myelin.

Overall, the study suggests that pleiotrophin is secreted by nerve cells when they are damaged and lose myelin, and pleiotrophin then inhibits PTPRZ. This allows oligodendrocytes to create new myelin.

The new understanding of how myelin is formed could provide the basis for new MS treatments, for example, drugs that inhibit PTPRZ or that increase pleiotrophin might be used in the future. Of course, much more research is needed and the investigators will need to find new compounds that act on PTPRZ.

According to Noda “This achievement was made possible by establishing oligodendrocyte precursor cell lines. Pleiotrophin is an endogenous PTPRZ inhibitor, but if synthetic PTPRZ inhibitors were obtained, then effective treatments for multiple sclerosis should become possible. We are currently directing our research in that direction.”

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  1. Waverly says:

    As I am once again laying down taking an afternoon break~~~Thrilled to read about the latest Mylan studies.
    I’d give anything to help forward this and it helps knowing it’s another building block to Fight MS.!
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you,
    10+ yrs MS

  2. Waverly says:

    As I take another afternoon break& lay down to rest my legs & feet.
    Thrilled to read about the latest with Mylan studies.
    I would give anything to help forward this movement.
    It’s another building block fighting MS.
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you
    10+ MS yrs.

  3. Judy Lee says:

    This is wonderful news and looks like steps in the right direction. I volunteer to be a guinea pig anytime!!!!!!
    Judy Lee
    8+ MS years

  4. fran says:

    Very exciting news. How many years do we need to get this in clinical trial. Don’t want to get so excited its gonna take years until something happens.

  5. Bucca says:

    I was Dx in 1990 and was told then that “they” were very close to finding a cure – NOT!!! I had every symptom of MS at one time or another but always recovered. Approx. 7 yrs ago it changed and I lost my ability to walk. I was wondering if anyone has an idea of regaining a loss with stem cell transplant?

    • Lisa DeGraw says:

      There are new stem cell studies from doctors in Ottawa. Ottawa doctors behind breakthrough multiple sclerosis studyOttawa doctors behind breakthrough multiple sclerosis study.Alex Normandin was in 3rd year medical school when he underwent a risky treatment for aggressive multiple sclerosis as part of an experimental trial led by the Neuro. He’s photographed at home on March 29, 2013. Scans show no new brain lesions and a marked improvements of symptoms associated with the disease

    • Gloria says:

      Hi the best thing Will be cannabis oil. In Barcelona and Colombia is legal and cheap. My daughter has ms and she is living in Barcelona to help herself with ms.. 07771757227 gg

      • N.Powell says:

        Thank you- I have heard that the oil is doing wonders for many diseases. I wish it would become medically legal in every state. Big pharma has such control over government it’s crazy, they’d rather we poison our bodies with their over priced Rxs.
        Glad to hear your daughter has found a way to help her MS.

        • Judy says:

          CBD oil helps me with pain when I can afford it to buy it. As you may know, there are lots of different qualities of CBD oil on the Internet and we all may respond differently to it. For British residents, so far I like In the US there is so much available. Erin Elizabeth (Dr. Mercola’s partner) recommends SOLCBD. It helped her. Neither of us are affiliates, so no money is being made.

  6. Huri says:

    Now for some different concern:
    As an MS patient watching socalled MS research since 30 years I often wonder how many millions of creatures who have a central nervous system and therefore can feel pain are tortured crippled and finally killed(called neutrally “animal or mice model”) in the name of “research” in order to arrive at some insignificant conclusion that cannot be replicated in human beings? Not in my name please.

  7. Julia Brown says:

    ….could this any any way possible cover myelin sheath repair in cases of Trigeminal Neuralgia? Having exhausted most meds and 2 unsuccesful brain surgeries,I live in absolute agony.

  8. Sean says:

    Anyone looking at the Chlamydia pneumoniae combination antibiotic thesis? Aka the Wheldon protocol, derived from research at Vanderbilt university. Anecdotal reports claim improvement in many cases. It obviously turns MS research on its head, indicating MS has a bacterial cause that is difficult to eradicate. To corroborate this finding, a new drug is being developed now in clinical Phase II trials that is just a combination of 3 already existing antibiotics, again with good results. The Wheldon protocol uses inexpensive and well tolerated antibiotics such as doxycycline, Azithromycin and tinidazole, and also recommends restorative supplements. N-acetyl cysteine is also used to eradicate the cyst form of Cpn as a preference over amoxicillin. Worst case the TB Rifampin drug is used.

    • Robert Millburn says:

      I agree, I’ve watched a great video with Dr. Wheldon:
      He thinks he’s found a cure for MS, aimed at eradicating the Chlamydia pneumoniae infection. When I presented this to my Neuro, he agreed, there has been a theory that this is infection based that has been around for quite sometime, but “they” say they need more data. I basically said the same thing Wheldon said in the interview, all of these antibiotics are off patent, and there’s essentially no profit to be made of this course of treatment. To my, and wife’s surprise, he actually agreed. This make me sick, that money and profits over people come first. I used to never be this way until I was diagnosed with MS, as of Aug 2016. I’m determined to fight this disease as much as I can, haven’t started any treatments yet. My first (local) Neuro wanted me on Tysbri, no thank you, risk of PML was too great. Got 2nd opinion from Georgetown MS Center, wonderful Doctor, gave me many options. Currently taking daily: B12 20k mcg, Glutathione 500mg, Protandum, Tumeric/Cucumin Extract 1000mg, D3 10k IU, Folic Acid 1000mcg, Optimized Curcumin 400mg, Chlorella Algae 3000mg. My new Neuro also said to start taking Biotin 5000mcg and Flaxseed oil. currently have gone to basically all fruits and veggies diet. So far so good.

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