The levels of epsilon toxin are increased in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, and its presence in laboratory rodents replicated some aspects of disease activity, according to data presented at the 4th Annual Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum.
The researchers suggested that the epsilon toxin and the bacteria that produces it, called Clostridium perfringens, may play a role in MS development.
ACTRIMS ran from Feb. 28 to March 2 in Dallas, Texas. The data was presented at the meeting by Jennifer Linden, PhD, from Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, in a poster titled “Clinical and Mechanistic Evidence for Clostridium perfringens Epsilon Toxin As an Environmental Trigger of Multiple Sclerosis.”
Clostridium perfringens is a bacterium that is part of a family that synthesizes some of the most potent toxins, including tetanus and botulinum neurotoxins. These bacteria are found in all sorts of environments (i.e., decaying vegetation, soil, water) as long-lasting, quiescent (dormant) spores where they wait for an opportunity to infect livestock or humans.
Clostridium perfringens produces the epsilon toxin (ETX), which has been suggested as a possible environmental agent linked to new MS lesion formation.
Researchers from Weill Cornell wanted to better understand the relationship between Clostridium perfringens ETX and MS. They asked two questions: do MS patients have increased exposure to this bacterium and related ETX, and does ETX-administration mimic MS disease activity features in rodents?
When looking at fecal — stool — samples of MS patients, researchers found that about one in four (21%) were positive for ETX-producing bacteria, whereas samples from healthy controls (with no MS) were all negative for the bacteria.
When looking at peripheral blood components — circulating red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets — researchers found increased exposure and levels of ETX in MS samples versus healthy control subjects.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?