Reduced Levels Of A Neurotransmitter Found In MS Patients

Researchers have recently found out that MS patients show signs of damage from a particular area of the brain that also leads to a substantial reduction of an important neurotransmitter. These new findings can be used to help scientists better understand the condition and see it in a better light. The findings of the said study are available on the online journal, Brain.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which the pathological processes involved are not well understood. What medical experts do know is that MS progression may be characterized by the infiltration of white blood cells of the immune system into the blood-brain barrier. The neurotransmitter nonadrenaline is known to help preserve the integrity of the blood brain barrier. This neurotransmitter can be found in the neurons in the area of the brain called locus coeruleus.

Researchers from the University of Illinois in Chicago have shown that damage to this particular area of the brain and the subsequent reduction in nonadrenaline levels may be associated with MS. Although this type of damage have already been found to affect those with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, the study demonstrated for the first time that the same effect also happens to people afflicted with MS.

The researchers, headed by Douglas Feinstein, research professor in anesthesiology at the UIC College of Medicine and Paul Polak, research specialist and first author of the said study, found that damage on the locus coeruleus and reduced levels of noradrenaline occur in a mouse model of MS. The researchers also found the same changes occurring in the brains of MS patients. The findings suggest that LC damage, along with reduced levels of noradrenaline in the brain may be considered a common feature among neurologic diseases such as MS.

“There are a number of FDA-approved drugs that have been shown to raise levels of noradrenaline in the brain, and we believe that this type of therapeutic intervention could benefit patients with MS and other neurodegenerative diseases, and should be investigated,” Polak added.


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