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Scientists discover protein that prevents MS in mice

While examining human brain tissues, researchers from the University of Alberta and McGill University found that the tissues from people who had multiple sclerosis (MS) contained an extremely high level of a protein called calnexin, compared to those who hadn’t had MS.

When they tested the susceptibility of mice lacking calnexin in a mouse model of human MS, they found that mice lacking the protein were completely resistant to the condition. This discovery could lead to the development of a possible treatment for MS.

Commenting on the study on the university’s website the study’s co-author Marek Michalak, from the University of Alberta said: “It turns out that calnexin is somehow involved in controlling the function of the blood-brain barrier.

“This structure usually acts like a wall and restricts the passage of cells and substances from the blood into the brain. When there is too much calnexin, this wall gives angry T-cells access to the brain, where they destroy myelin.”

“We think this exciting finding identifies calnexin as an important target for developing therapies for MS,” said Luis Agellon, a professor at the McGill School of Human Nutrition. “Our challenge now is to tease out exactly how this protein works in the cells involved in making up the blood-brain barrier. If we knew exactly what calnexin does in this process, then we could find a way to manipulate its function to promote resistance for developing MS.”

The study, “Calnexin is necessary for T-cell transmigration into the central nervous system”, was published in JCI Insight.

Source: MS-UK 16/03/18

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