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News on Multiple Sclerosis and Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Posted Oct 12 2010 12:00am

October 11th, 2010, 10:31 GMT| By  Smaranda Biliut

A thesis from the Sahlgrenska  Academy  concluded that a flaw in one of the immune system's enzymes determines the degree of the severity of autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS) and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS).

These new findings can explain the way that this enzyme deficiency can be diagnosed and also why these diseases can vary so much.

The immune system is based on white blood cells, that play a vital role in fighting against pathogens.

The white blood cells contain an enzyme that transforms oxygen into reactive oxygen radicals – which break down microorganisms and stop infections, called NADPH oxidase.

These new studies have used animal models to show that an inadequate production of oxygen radicals can favor the 
development  of autoimmune diseases, as the patient's immune system would attack itself.

The body has an ability of producing reactive oxygen radicals at an early stage in the immune defense against pathogens, and this has a serious impact on the way that these illnesses develop.

Natalia Mossberg, doctoral 
student  at the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology at the Sahlgrenska Academy, said that “a strong but controlled production of oxygen radicals by the immune system is important for subduing illnesses such as MS and GBS.”

These are the two autoimmune diseases that were covered by this thesis, as they can vary from insignificant to life-threatening, and their mechanism needed to be revealed.

Mossberg says that they “wanted to look at this in humans, and examined the NADPH oxidase in the white blood cells of patients with MS, GBS and recurring GBS (RGBS).

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Special Note: Stuart has MS and his dad has/had GBS 

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