New Genetic Information About Multiple Sclerosis Risk

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These attacks disrupt information flow in the brain and spinal cord and cause nerve damage that triggers symptoms associated with MS such as tremors and loss of gait. Understanding which mechanisms influence the risk of MS is central to finding effective therapies.

Previous genetic studies have found regions in the human genome that contain mutations (single nucleotide polymorphisms) associated with an increased risk of MS. Many of these regions are localized near genes that are active in immune cells.

In this study, the researchers show in mice and human brain samples that oligodendrocytes and their progenitors have an open configuration of the genome near immune genes and at MS-risk associated regions.

“Our findings suggest that the risk for multiple sclerosis might manifest by misfunction not only of immune cells, but also of oligodendrocytes and their precursor cells,” says Gonalo Castelo-Branco, professor at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, who conducted the study with co-first authors Mandy Meijer, a Ph.D. student, and Eneritz Agirre, a researcher.

These findings indicate that these cells can also be targeted for therapeutical approaches for MS, to prevent misfunction that might be caused by these mutations.

Source: Medindia

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