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Brain regeneration impaired in progressive but not relapsing MS

Regeneration in the brain is enhanced in people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) during disease activity but reduced in those with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), a new study has found.

Researchers measured levels of GAP-43, a protein found between nerve cells, low levels of which have been linked to increased disability. The protein helps nerve cells communicate, and GAP-43 is widely used as a marker of neuronal growth and regeneration. They found that people with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) and PPMS had significantly lower levels of GAP-43, which they said suggests a “lost or reduced potential in late MS” for regeneration. Those with RRMS did not have lowered levels. The researchers also found that treatment with disease-modifying therapies did not affect the levels of regeneration in the brain.

The scientists say the results help with further understanding of the pathogenesis behind progression and degeneration and regeneration in MS.

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