Researchers ID possible MS biomarker

October 16, 2017
A new study identifies opioid growth factor (OGF) as a possible biomarker for the onset and progression of multiple sclerosis. The study found OGF levels were lower in patients with MS when compared to non-MS patients and MS-patients receiving disease-modifying therapies.
In the current study, researchers at Penn State University College of Medicine in Hershey, Penn., looked at OGF levels in MS patients as well as an MS animal model. Serum levels of OGF were significantly reduced in MS patients when compared to normal individuals. Collaborative studies in the mouse model of MS found that reductions in OGF were predictive of disease development. Low dose naltrexone treatment restored OGF levels in EAE mice and had no effect on OGF levels in normal mice. 
Low dose naltrexone is an off-label therapeutic prescribed for a variety of immune-related disorders, including MS. Naltrexone intermittently blocks the opioid receptors that control pain, reward, and addictive behavior, resulting in biofeedback events that increase production of OGF. Although LDN positively affects the quality-of-life and fatigue levels in MS patients, its mechanism of action in MS patients has not been confirmed. 
The results of mouse model studies sometimes do not translate to humans and may be years away from being a marketable treatment. However, the authors said these findings, along with the availability of noninvasive technology for measuring OGF levels in patients, support OGF as a candidate biomarker for MS.
The article was published in Experimental Biology and Medicine.

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