Enzyme Flaw May Determine MS Severity

A research thesis from Sahlgrenska Academy in Gothenburg, Sweden concluded that a flaw in an enzyme found in the immune system may determine the severity of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Guillain-Barre syndrome. The new findings also provide the means of how this enzyme deficiency can be possibly diagnosed and explain why such diseases also vary so much.

The immune system is made up partially of white blood cells that play a vital role in the body fighting against pathogens. The white blood cells contain an enzyme that transforms oxygen into reactive oxygen radicals. These reactive oxygen radicals are called NADPH oxidase which help break down microorganisms in the body and stop infections.

The study showed that inadequate production of oxygen radicals may affect the development of autoimmune diseases such as MS.

“A strong but controlled production of oxygen radicals by the immune system is important for subduing illnesses such as MS and GBS,” says Natalia Mossberg. The two autoimmune diseases were the subject of the said study since they tend to vary greatly in people, from being insignificant to life threatening. The study went out to discover the mechanism behind it.

So far the study was conducted using animal models. 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).”

“The results show that patients with more severe forms of the illness have lower levels of oxygen radical production in their white blood cells as a result of deficient NADPH oxidase function,” Mossberg further added.

Furthermore, the researchers believe that future MS treatment may benefit from the new approach by finding drugs that might trigger the production of NADPH oxidase. This approach may even be used to develop a type of vaccine for people who might be at risk of developing this type of autoimmune diseases.

Source: http://news.softpedia.com/news/News-on-Multiple-Sclerosis-and-Guillain-Barr-Syndrome-160307.shtml

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