Study Suggests Reversing Age-Related MS Effects Possible

With multiple sclerosis still considered as one of those conditions without a cure, researchers are trying hard to find different means in order to find the best available treatment. A new study is suggesting that it might be possible to reverse the ageing in the central nervous system which may help in regenerating damaged myelin common among MS patients. The study is published in the Cell Stem Cell journal.

The aging process limits the body’s ability to regenerate tissues, which also includes those in the brain. With diseases like multiple sclerosis which can develop and progress for many years, the effect of the body’s regenerative processes can have significant implications. In MS, the myelin sheath, which is the insulating layers that protect the nerve fibers in the brain, becomes damaged. The damage on this protective sheath can become so extensive that it eventually affects the ability of the nerve fibers to send signals properly, even leading to the loss of the nerve fiber itself.

In the early stage of the disease, remyelination or the regeneration of myelin still occurs and allows for the restoration of the damaged myelin sheaths. But as people age, the regeneration lessens significantly, making the body unable to restore damaged myelin effectively. This causes the permanent loss of the nerve fibers over time. Fortunately, a new study suggests that the myelin regeneration process associated with aging can be reversed.

A new study involving mice suggests that remyelination may be reversible. The study showed that when old mice are exposed to inflammatory cells called monocytes coming from young mice, the declining regeneration process of myelin can be reversed. Researchers from the University of Cambridge in collaboration with their colleagues at Harvard University worked together in the said study. According to Professor Robin Franklin, Franklin, Director of the MS Society’s Cambridge Centre for Myelin Repair at the University of Cambridge, “What we have shown in our study, carried out in collaboration with Dr Amy Wagers and colleagues at Harvard University, is that the age-associated decline in remyelination is reversible. We found that remyelination in old adult mice can be made to work as efficiently as it does in young adult mice.”

“For individuals with MS, this means that in theory regenerative therapies will work throughout the duration of the disease. Specifically, it means that remyelination therapies do not need to be based on stem cell transplantation since the stem cells already present in the brain and spinal cord can be made to regenerate myelin – regardless of the patient’s age,” Prof. Franklin further added.

Source: Medical News Today

 
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