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Molecule Strikes Balance in Immune System and May Be Key to Autoimmune Attack in MS

Posted Jan 14 2009 8:24pm
Released Jun 19, 2008

Researchers funded by the National MS Society and others report that a molecule called the aryl hydrocarbon receptor – which helps the immune system respond to environmental toxins – seems to regulate the balance between inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cells in MS-like disease in mice. The results may eventually help tease out the effects of environmental factors that may trigger the launch of autoimmune attacks against the nervous system in MS.

Francisco J. Quintana, PhD, Howard Weiner, MD (winner of the 2007 Dystel Prize for MS Research) and colleagues at Havard Medical School, Boston, report their findings in Nature ( 2008 May 1;453[7191]:65-71 ). This study was funded by the National MS Society and the National Institutes of Health among others. Marc Veldhoen, PhD (MRC National Institute for Medical Research) and colleagues report similar findings in a separate article, funded by the Medical Research Council UK ( 2008 May 1;453[7191]:106-9 ).

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