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In The War Against Diseases, Nerve Cells Need Their Armor

Posted Jan 14 2009 8:22pm
ScienceDaily (Nov. 12, 2008) — In a new study, researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI), McGill University, and the Université de Montréal have discovered an essential mechanism for the maintenance of the normal structure of myelin, the protective covering that insulates and supports nerve cells (neurons). Up until now, very little was known about myelin maintenance.

This new information provides vital insight into diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other progressive demyelinating diseases in which myelin is destroyed, causing irreversible damage and disrupting the nerve cells' ability to transmit messages. The research, published recently in the Journal of Neuroscience, is the first to identify a role for the protein netrin-1, previously characterized only in the developing nervous system, with this critical function in the adult nervous system.

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