Research highlight

A new target for multiple sclerosis

Nature Neuroscience

December 5, 2011

Activation of a protein receptor found on immune cells in the central nervous system results in improved clinical outcomes in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis, reports a paper published online in the journal Nature Neuroscience. Multiple sclerosis occurs when cells of the immune system inappropriately target and destroy the protective coating which surrounds nerve fibers, called the myelin sheath. Marco Prinz and colleagues found that activating the RIG-I-like helicase receptors found on one type of immune cell can reduce inflammation and the breakdown of myelin during this disease in mice, therefore limiting the paralysis which normally occurs. Importantly, the authors find that this treatment is also effective by simple intravenous injection and after the onset of disease. These results provide valuable insights into the cellular events which act to cause the destruction of the myelin in the brain and spinal cord. This paper also reports a potential new and non-invasive way to limit the damage caused by this debilitating disease.

doi: 10.1038/nn.2964

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