About Multiple Sclerosis Foundation



Home > Learn About Multiple Sclerosis > News > Study suggests targeting metabolites for MS treatment

Study suggests targeting metabolites for MS treatment

4/25/2016

A new study identifies bacteria-derived gut metabolites that can affect myelin content in the brains of mice and induce depression-like symptoms. This research suggests that targeting intestinal bacteria, or their metabolites, could be one way to treat debilitating psychiatric disorders and demyelinating diseases, like multiple sclerosis.

Researchers transferred fecal bacteria from the gut of depressed mice to genetically distinct mice exhibiting non-depressed behavior. The study showed that the transfer of microbiota was sufficient to induce social withdrawal behaviors and change the expression of myelin genes and myelin content in the brains of the recipient mice.

In an effort to define the mechanism of gut-brain communication, researchers identified bacterial communities associated with increased levels of cresol, a substance that has the ability to pass the blood-brain barrier. When the precursors of myelin-forming cells were cultured in a dish and exposed to cresol, they lost their ability to form myelin, thereby suggesting that a gut-derived metabolite affected myelin formation in the brain.

Results of mouse model studies sometimes do not translate to humans and may be years away from being a marketable treatment. However, the researchers are hopeful that metabolites can be targeted for potential future therapies.

The findings were published in the medical journal eLife.



  Support the MSF
Supporting MSF's programs to help make "a brighter tomorrow" has never been easier.
make a donation 

  Learn About MS
Common symptoms of MS include fatigue, weakness, spasticity, balance problems, bladder and bowel problems, numbness, vision loss, tremors and depression.
learn more 

 

Unless otherwise specified, all medical content is compiled by MSF staff and reviewed for accuracy by a member of our Medical Advisory Board.

The MSF strives to present clear and unbiased information. This site is partially funded through a grant from Bayer Healthcare, LLC.

© Copyright 2000-2013 Multiple Sclerosis Foundation - All Rights Reserved

�