Protein May Help Repair MS Brain Damage

ST. LOUIS, June 9 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they’ve found a protein that helps build the brain in infants might help in restoring brain damage caused by neurodegenerative diseases.

Using a mouse model of multiple sclerosis, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis said they found the protein CXCR4 is essential for repairing myelin, a protective sheath that covers nerve cell branches. MS and other disorders damage myelin, and that damage is linked to loss of the branches inside the myelin.

“In MS patients, myelin repair occurs inconsistently for reasons that aren’t clear,” said Dr. Robyn Klein, an associate professor of medicine and neurobiology and the study’s senior author. “Understanding the nature of that problem is a priority because when myelin isn’t repaired, the chances that an MS flare-up will inflict lasting harm seem to increase.”

The research that included postdoctoral fellow Jigisha Patel is detailed in the early online edition of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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