There has been substantial progress in understanding what is occuring in Central Nervous System (CNS) disease. two studies were published in the Journal of Neurosciences, both deal with understanding astrogliosis, the process which makes the cells [astrocyte (Wikipedia)] that protect and support the myelin of our neurons, go wrong.

 

Multiple Sclerosis Formation (UCSF)

 

The first study [2], showed that inflammation or trauma brings about the release of signal proteins called cytokines. In the word of that study “…the release of immunoregulatory cytokines by cells around lesion sites may be a mechanism that contributes to the production of gliosis…” A little bit like immune system firebrands, since they spread inflammation. The challenge is that cytokines are an integral part of your immune system, but there can be too much of a good thing. An image coming to mind is of a watch dog released against the wrong people…

The second study pertains specifically to Multiple Sclerosis. Researche

rs at UC Davis under the direction of David Pleasure, director of UC Davis’ Institute for Pediatric Regenerative Medicine [3]. They showed that the cells involves in the MS plaque creation are “..at least in the case of multiple sclerosis, the cells are descendant from normal astrocytes..”

Most of the time, except if a drug is discovered by happenstance(?) , the researchers have to understand in order to treat…These steps are big steps in understanding how MS plaque is formed. By the way, there is an excellent series of photographs and sketches helping you to visualize MS. Go to the  UCSF class in MS [4],the photographs are amazing….

 

 

Sources:

[1] Journal of Neuropsychiatry; “Astroglia: Not Just Glue”; Katherine H. Taber, and Robin A. Hurley

[ ] Journal of Neuroscience; “Reactive astrogliosis in the neonatal mouse brain and its modulation by cytokines”;  V Balasingam et. al.

[3] UC Davis Health System; “UC Davis researchers solve multiple sclerosis brain-cell mystery”

[ 4] MS Microscopic Pathology

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