Intestinal immune cells can play an important role in MS

Researchers say that gut immune cells appear to help control the relapse of multiple sclerosis.

Such relapses, which can cause vision loss, memory loss, pain, and other symptoms, often subside spontaneously after days or weeks, but patients with multiple sclerosis transition from remission to relapse. It’s not clear why it’s triggered. again.

An international team of researchers recently discovered in an animal model of MS that immune cells in the gut leave the digestive system and appear to reduce inflammation there.

“This was a very new idea,” said Sergio Balangini, a team member of the University of California, San Francisco, a professor of neurology, in a university news release. “No one was thinking of looking for this type of immune cell.”

In a new study, Baranzini and his colleagues analyzed cerebrospinal fluid from MS patients for an antibody called IgA expressed by immune cells in the intestine.

Researchers found that the antibody was present in the cerebrospinal fluid of MS patients during relapse but not during remission.

Researchers also found signs of IgA-producing immune cells in damaged brain tissue during an MS attack.

According to researchers, this finding was the first to confirm that intestinal immune cells are involved in the recurrence of multiple sclerosis.

“Only during the attack there was an increase in these cells and the antibodies they produce,” said Balangini, the lead author of the study. “It really caught our attention.”

In MS, several types of immune cells attack and damage myelin. Myelin is an insulating material that helps nerve cells communicate with each other.

This study found that IgA does not bind to myelin proteins. Instead, it binds to several types of harmful bacteria, which suggests that it plays a protective role during MS flare-up by chasing the harmful bacteria to the brain and fighting them there. I will.

“This opens up a whole new line of research, which I think has great potential for treatment,” said Dr. Anne-Katrin Probstel of the University of Basel, Switzerland, the lead author of the study. I will.

This study was published in Science Immunology this month.

For more information

For more information on MS, please visit the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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Intestinal immune cells can play an important role in MS

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