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Study: Key protein reduces MS severity in mice

11/12/2014

University of Pennsylvania researchers have identified a key protein that is able to reduce the severity of the equivalent of multiple sclerosis in mice. The discovery may point the way to new treatments for MS patients.

The study focused on Del-1, the regulatory protein that has been found to prevent inflammation and bone loss in a mouse model of gum disease. Del-1 has been found to be associated with susceptibility to MS. Researchers wanted to know if simply replacing Del-1 might act as a therapy for the disease. Having induced EAE in mice, they waited until the mice had an attack, akin to a flare-up of MS in human patients, and then administered Del-1. They found the mice did not experience further episodes of the disease.

Results of mouse model studies sometimes do not translate to humans and may be years away from being a marketable treatment. However, the research team is pursuing further work on Del-1 to see if they can identify a subunit of the protein that could have therapeutic effect.

“This treatment prevented further disease relapse,” said senior author and project collaborator Triantafyllos Chavakis of Germany’s Technical University Dresden. “Thus, administration of soluble Del-1 may provide the platform for developing novel therapeutic approaches for neuroinflammatory and demyelinating diseases, especially multiple sclerosis.”

The study was published online in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.



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