Inhibiting a protein found at high levels in immune cells located in the brain can rejuvenate myelin, the protective coating around nerve cells, according to a multiple sclerosis study in mice.
Blocking the protein, known as the colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor, or CSF1R, can also prevent the immune cells from promoting the inflammation associated with MS, the research indicated.
Argentine researchers presented the findings at the 7th Joint ECTRIMS-ACTRIMS Meeting in Paris today. The conference started Oct. 25 and will run through Oct. 28.
Scientists have made great strides in understanding relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, or RRMS. And the insight has led to the development of several treatments for RRMS, the least severe form of MS.
Therapies continue to be limited for patients with the three progressive forms of MS, however.
Immune cells in the brain known as microglia play a major role in the destruction of the myelin coating around nerve cells and in nerve cell inflammation, both of which lead to the nerve cell degeneration in multiple sclerosis. This means that finding ways to inhibit microglia may slow the disease’s progression.
Previous studies have shown that CSF1R is essential to microglial cells’ survival and proliferation. In fact, inhibiting the protein reduced microglia activation and brain inflammation in lab and animal models of Alzheimer’s disease and MS, these studies have shown.
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