A factor that may contribute to the progressive phase of multiple sclerosis (MS) has been identified in a paper published online this week in Nature Immunology.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects a person's nervous system and leads to physical and cognitive disabilities.? There are different patterns of progression for MS with the irreversible progressive phase appearing after the relapsing-remitting phase of the disease. There is currently no effective therapy for the progressive phase of MS.
A group led by Howard Weiner and Francisco Quintana identified a lipid, 15-HC, that is present in elevated concentrations in patients with progressive, but not relapsing-remitting, MS. The scientists found that 15-HC activates a receptor called PARP-1 and that inhibition of PARP-1 activity slows the progression of MS in a mouse model of MS.
Future work will determine whether PARP-1 activity can be manipulated for therapeutic benefit in patients with progressive MS.