‘Ordinarily, the blood-brain barrier shields the brain from elements that could damage it. So, for example, it keeps the immune system’s B lymphocytes, or B cells, from entering the brain.
However, in people with MS, this defense system no longer serves as a barrier, allowing large numbers of lymphocytes to invade the brain and attack the myelin sheath. The sheath normally serves to protect and insulate the nerve axons, or fibers, that enable the transmission of nerve signals.
The presence of B lymphocytes in cerebrospinal fluid is a classic marker of MS, and it is these cells that give MS its progressive nature.
Prat and fellow researchers at CRCHUM set out to show that by blocking a molecule called ALCAM (Activated Leukocyte Cell Adhesion Molecule), they could reduce the flow of B cells into the brain and, thereby, slow the progression of MS’.
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