central nervous system

Calyx, Qynapse to Expand Use of Neuroimaging AI Tools

Calyx and Qynapse have joined forces to expand the use of artificial intelligence (AI)-based neuroimaging tools in clinical trials of treatment candidates for conditions affecting the central nervous system (CNS), or the brain and spinal cord. This is expected to help advance therapy development for multiple sclerosis…

An Epstein-Barr Virus Primer for MS Patients

You may have heard about the research that’s just been published about the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and multiple sclerosis (MS). The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health study reports that being infected by EBV raises the risk of developing MS by 32 times. This isn’t a small or…

Up Peristeen, or How to Beat the Blockade

The joys of MS are never-ending. One area that gets disrupted by this disease of the central nervous system is our pelvic regions. That affects bladder, bowel, and sexual function. I’ve written about all of this in previous columns. My bladder failed less than two years after I…

Transforming Skin Cells Into Nerve Stem Cells Could Be a Way to Treat MS, Study Suggests

Reprogramming skin cells into brain stem cells, then transplanting them into the central nervous system may reduce inflammation and reverse the nerve cell damage in progressive multiple sclerosis, a mouse study shows. Scientists have dubbed macrophages the immune system's big eaters because they engulf abnormal cells like cancer in addition to invaders like viruses and bacteria. Special classes of macrophages live in a number of organs, including the brain and spinal cord, where they’re called microglia. Although they protect the body, microglia can participate in the development of progressive forms of MS by attacking the central nervous system, causing nerve cell damage. MS is an autoimmune disease, or one in which the immune system can attack healthy tissue besides invaders. Recent studies have suggested that neural stem cells, which have the capacity to differentiate into any type of nerve cell, can regulate immune response and inflammation in the central nervous system. At one point, researchers obtained neural stem cells from embryos. But this technique generated only a fraction of the cells needed for treatments. Meanwhile, doctors have tried to avoid collecting stem cells from someone with a different genetic profile than the patient because this increases the risk that the immune system will attack them once they're transplanted. University of Cambridge scientists decided to try reprogramming skin cells into neural stem cells. The idea behind the mouse study was that using skin cells from the same person who will receive the stem cells will reduce the chance that the immune system will attack the stem cells. In the mouse study, the team discovered a link between higher than normal levels of a small metabolite, called succinate, and chronic MS. The metabolite prompts macrophages and microglia to generate inflammation in the cerebrospinal fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord. Transplanting neural stem cells and progenitors of these stem cells into the cerebrospinal fluid of mice improved the animals' chronic nerve cell inflammation. The stem cells reduced the animals' succinate levels and switched their macrophages and microglia from a pro- to an anti-inflammatory state. This led to a decrease in inflammation and less damage to the central nervous system. “Our mouse study suggests that using a patient’s reprogrammed cells could provide a route to personalized treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases, including progressive forms of MS,” Stefano Pluchino, a principal researcher in Cambridge's Department of Clinical Neurosciences, said in a press release. “This is particularly promising as these cells should be more readily obtainable than conventional neural stem cells and would not carry the risk of an adverse immune response,” said Pluchino, the study's lead author. Luca Peruzzotti-Jametti, a Wellcome Trust research training fellow, said the discovery would not have been possible without a multidisciplinary collaboration. “We made this discovery by bringing together researchers from diverse fields, including regenerative medicine, cancer, mitochondrial biology, inflammation and stroke, and cellular reprogramming."

Multiple Sclerosis in Mother Increases Chance of Children Having ADHD, Study Suggests

Mothers with chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, have a higher risk of having children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a Norwegian study. The findings were reported in a study titled “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Offspring of Mothers With Inflammatory and Immune System Diseases”…

Could Remyelination Be Achieved in MS Using an Anti-Inflammatory Treatment?

In a recent study entitled “Promotion of Remyelination by Sulfasalazine in a Transgenic Zebrafish Model of Demyelination,” researchers investigated whether sulfasalazine treatment, an anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating drug, could promote remyelination of axons in an organism model of demyelination diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). The study was published in the…

Microchips May Be New Standard in Multiple Sclerosis Studies

In a new article published in the journal Trends in Biotechnology, Korean researchers suggest that diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) might be better studied using compact, accessible chip technology than in current methods. The report, titled “Central Nervous System and its Disease…

Brain-specific B Cells’ Reactivity Determines Glatiramer Acetate Therapy Success in MS Patients

In a new study entitled “The brain antigen-specific B cell response correlates with glatiramer acetate responsiveness in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis patients,” a team of scientists discovered that differences in response to glatiramer acetate therapy among multiple sclerosis (MS) patients is potentially dependent on the presence of reactive brain-specific B…