Brain cell changes in people with MS revealed

January 30, 2019
A new study suggests fresh insights into the types of cells found in the brains of people with multiple sclerosis could help develop improved therapies. The findings could shed new light on how the disease progresses and help scientists develop treatments.

Experts from the University of Edinburgh and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden analyzed postmortem brain samples from five people without neurological disease and four people with progressive MS. The researchers found there are several types of oligodendrocytes and that the ratio of these cells in people with MS differs from healthy people.

These differences suggest the oligodendrocytes are functioning differently in the brains of people with MS, which might be key to understanding how disease progresses, the researchers say. The differences in types of oligodendrocytes they found in people with MS might explain why their myelin repair process does not work as well.

The study also found humans have different types of oligodendrocytes than mice. The findings suggest the cells may work differently in each species. This could have important implications for how findings from mouse studies of MS are interpreted.

The study was published in Nature.

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