Blocking An Enzyme Can Slow Down MS

Nearly a decade ago, researchers from Mayo Clinic has found an enzyme that is always present in brain lesions and blood samples in people with MS. Now, they have discovered that using an antibody to neutralize the said enzyme can also help slow down multiple sclerosis is mice. The findings of the study are published on this month’s issue of Brain Pathology.

The researchers, headed by Isobel Scarisbrick, Ph.D. of the Mayo Clinic Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation found out that neutralizing an enzyme called Kallikrein 6 can help slow down the effects of MS in mice models of the said disease. The researchers looked into mice exhibiting the viral model of MS. A week after being infected by the virus, the mice showed elevated levels of the Kallikrien 6 enzyme in the brain and spinal cord. But when the researchers used an antibody to neutralize and block the enzyme, it also led to a decrease in the effects of the diseases affecting the brain and the spinal cord.

In addition, the reduction of Kallikrein 6 enzyme also led to a decrease in demyelination. The antibody used to neutralize the said enzyme also reduced the inflammatory white cells as well as slowed the depletion of myelin basic protein which is a key component in remyelination. The findings may not only affect patients with MS but also those who have other conditions associated with the brain and the spinal cord.

According to Dr. Scarisbrick, “These findings suggest Kallikrein 6 plays a role in the inflammatory and demyelinating processes that accompany many types of neurological conditions. In the early chronic stages of some neurological diseases, Kallikrein 6 may represent a good molecule to target with drugs capable of neutralizing its effects.”

Source: Mayo Clinic (2012, April 30). Halting an enzyme can slow multiple sclerosis in mice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 2, 2012, from

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