Multiple Sclerosis Patients Cerebrospinal Fluid Offers New Clues for Potential Therapeutic Strategies

Genengnews | July 15, 2019

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disorder that may take two basic forms, relapsing remitting MS (RMMS), which presents with periods of clinical remission, and progressive MS, which is characterized by continued deterioration without remission. There are some therapies available to help manage RRMS, but treating progressive MS is far more challenging. By studying the effects of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from MS patients on mitochondria in mouse neurons, U.S. researchers have now identified a biological mechanism that might ultimately help develop new therapeutic strategies against the progressive form of the disease. “Because the brain is bathed by the CSF, we asked whether treating cultured neurons with the CSF from MS patients with a relapsing/remitting or a progressive disease course would possibly elicit different effects on neuronal mitochondrial function,” said the study’s primary investigator Patrizia Casaccia, PhD, Einstein professor of biology at the Graduate Center and founding director of the Neuroscience Initiative at the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “We detected dramatic differences in the shape of the neuronal mitochondria and their ability to produce energy.” Casaccia and colleagues reported their findings in Brain, in a paper titled, “A metabolic perspective on CSF-medicated neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis.” MS affects more than 2.5 million people worldwide, and is characterized by destruction of the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve cells. RRMS is the most common form of MS and affects about 85% of patients, who exhibit demyelinating inflammatory episodes with clinical symptoms, followed by periods of clinical remission. The 15% of patients who present with primary progressive MS exhibit progressive neurological deterioration without periods of clinical remission. Approximately 50% of RRMS patients will also eventually develop progressive disease.

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