Canadian scientists have identified a potential therapeutic target for multiple sclerosis (MS).
Multiple sclerosis is a disease caused by damage to myelin - the protective covering wrapped around the nerves of the central nervous system (CNS).
Using a mouse model, researchers at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary have discovered that a molecular switch called EMMPRIN plays an important role in MS.
They explored how in MS, EMMPRIN affects MMPs and the entry of leukocytes into the CNS to result in disease activity.
"In our studies we inhibited EMMPRIN and noticed a reduced intensity of MS-like symptoms in mice," said V. Wee Yong, the study's principal investigator.
"Our data suggests that if we target EMMPRIN in patients with MS, we may reduce the injury to the brain and spinal cord caused by immune cells," Yong said.
In addition to working with animal models, the authors also found that EMMPRIN is significantly elevated in the brain lesions of MS patients, indicating its potential significance in the disease.
The research findings are published in the Jan 12th issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.