Possible New Cause, Treatment Of MS Found

Multiple sclerosis is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. But the mystery behind its cause still perplexes scientists that a cure for it remains quite elusive. What most researchers are trying to focus on is by trying to understand MS better and trying to discover what exactly causes it. By trying to target its root cause, researchers may then be able to develop effective treatments to combat this disease.

In light of this, a study by researchers from Purdue University Department of Basic Medical Sciences, in collaboration with its School of Veterinary Medicine, its Center for Paralysis Research and the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, have further made progress in better understanding the disease by discovering a possible new cause of MS. The researchers have found out that a possible cause of MS might be a chemical that can be found in air pollutants such as tobacco and auto exhaust smoke. The said compound, known as acrolein, is a common substance that is being used in various industries such as the manufacture of plastics. Acrolein is also produced in the body after nerve cells are damaged.

Although past studies have linked acrolein and possible liver damage, the team of researchers from Purdue University found out that acrolein levels were elevated by about 60 percent in the spinal cord tissues of mice with a disease similar to MS. Acrolein may aid in myelin degradation, a known cause of MS in humans. The new findings also showed that the neuronal death attributed to acrolein can be prevented by administering the drug hydralazine, an FDA approved drug for treating hypertension. Molecules of the said drug seems to bind into acrolein in order to neutralize it.

The researchers have discovered the specific chemical signature of the drug that binds into acrolein, making it possible for creating synthetic alternatives that will works quite as well but with a reduction of side effects commonly associated with hydralazine. Details of the said study will appear online in the November issue of the online journal Neuroscience.

Source: Purdue University. “Environmental toxin may play important role in multiple sclerosis: Hypertension drug possible treatment.” ScienceDaily 24 November 2010. 1 December 2010 <http://www.sciencedaily.comĀ­ /releases/2010/11/101123174332.htm>

 
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