Targeting Blood-clotting Protein Can Restore Brain’s Potential to Repair Myelin Layer, Study Shows

Targeting Blood-clotting Protein Can Restore Brain’s Potential to Repair Myelin Layer, Study Shows

A blood-clotting protein called fibrinogen prevents myelin production and blocks the neuron remyelination repair process in mice, a study finds.

The study, “Fibrinogen Activates BMP Signaling in Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cells and Inhibits Remyelination after Vascular Damage,” appeared in the journal Neuron. Its conclusions offer new insights and open new therapeutic avenues for multiple sclerosis (MS) and Alzheimer’s disease, among other illnesses.

One common feature of several neurological disorders is the loss of the myelin layer that normally surrounds neurons. Myelin is essential not only to protect the neurons but also to let them process and transmit the electric pulses they use to communicate with each other. When myelin is degraded, neurons can not work properly and they eventually die.

Scientists have tried to better understand what factors contribute to the demyelinating process and how to protect neurons from it.

Attempting to add new insights, a research team led by Katerina Akassoglou, senior investigator at Gladstone Institutes and professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), tested if the blood-clotting protein fibrinogen could be involved in MS.

“We thought it might be important to look instead at the toxic environment outside the cell, where blood proteins accumulate,” Akassoglou said in a press release. “We realized that targeting the blood protein fibrinogen could open up the possibility for new types of therapies to promote brain repair.”

In a previous study, the team showed that when fibrinogen crosses the brain-blood barrier it can induce autoimmune responses in the brain, similar to those involved in MS. In this new study, the team revealed that fibrinogen can do much more than that.

10 comments

  1. T. Kierzek says:

    Hi,

    Reading your journal, i’am very eager to know what kind of fibinogenen were used on mice? Do you have the specific name , please

    Thank you,

    • Alice Melão says:

      They infused human fibrinogen in mice brains, at concentrations similar to those found in the plasma. To inhibit the effects of fibrinogen the researchers used a chemical inhibitor and genetically manipulated the mice so fibrinogen could not activate its signaling pathway on oligodendrocyte progenitor cells.

    • Alice Melão says:

      Dear J Smyth,
      Many ethical questions can be raised in science, and the use of animals is definitely one of them. Still for science to move forward, find new insights on diseases, and advance new potential therapies it is necessary to use models that can provide a good base of information. But is important to remind that all studies with animals have to pass the approval of ethical committees and they have to follow strict rules to ensure the animal do not suffer throughout all experimental procedures.

    • Harvey Connors says:

      Cruelty is people with your view trying to prevent people to find a cure so people don’t have to suffer. Are you living with MS. I am. I will probably die from a bladder issue before any thing can help me. But I pray no one else has to suffer like me. I am great-full for this research.

  2. Coleen Sadewater says:

    Is there a retrovirus in the faulty fibrinogen, and if so was another virus used to invade them to alter their distructive part? Also wouldn’t an anti-clotting drug stop it too? Thank you for your response!

  3. Monica says:

    How does this treatment effect clotting? Are the fibrinogen levels high enough to cause the risk of clots, strokes, PE? We treat MS with plasma pheresis with albumin which has a significant effect on fibrinogen levels has this been look at in relationship to your investigation?

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