In MS, the disruption of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) — a highly selective and protective membrane — allows immune cells to reach the central nervous system (CNS, the brain and spinal cord), where they drive inflammation and ultimately lead to neurodegeneration.
The metabolic changes found in BBB cells were similar to those previously reported in immune cells from MS patients, supporting the hypothesis that MS may be considered a chronic metabolic disorder.
The study, “Immuno-metabolic impact of the multiple sclerosis patients’ sera on endothelial cells of the blood-brain barrier,” was published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation.
The BBB is a complex three-dimensional structure composed mainly of tightly packed endothelial cells (those lining the inside of blood vessels) that prevent large molecules, viruses, and immune cells in the blood from reaching the CNS.
Damage to the BBB occurs in the initial stages of MS, contributing to an inflammatory state in the CNS, immune attacks against myelin (the protective sheath around nerve fibers), and the progression of the disease.
However, the underlying mechanisms of BBB disruption in MS remain poorly understood.
Increasing evidence points to metabolic unbalance as a potential driver of MS, with MS patients showing changes in hormones and processes involved in energy metabolism and some of those being associated with disease severity.
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