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Canadian scientists have identified a potential therapeutic target for multiple sclerosis (MS).

Posted Jan 12 2011 12:00am
January 12, 2011


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease caused by damage to myelin -- the protective covering wrapped around the nerves of the central nervous system (CNS).



Previous studies have shown that certain white blood (immune) cells, called leukocytes, infiltrate the CNS and play a significant role in causing the damage that contributes to MS symptoms. It has also been shown that these leukocytes enter the CNS with help from a family of molecules called MMPs.

Using a mouse model, researchers have discovered that a molecular switch called EMMPRIN plays an important role in MS. The researchers explored how in MS, EMMPRIN affects MMPs and the entry of leukocytes into the CNS to result in disease activity.

"In our studies we inhibited EMMPRIN and noticed a reduced intensity of MS-like symptoms in mice," says Dr. V. Wee Yong, a professor of Clinical Neurosciences at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine and the study's principal investigator. "Our data suggests that if we target EMMPRIN in patients with MS, we may reduce the injury to the brain and spinal cord caused by immune cells." Click here to continue reading

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