February 21, 2007
Pregnancy Hormone Thought To Be Key To Repairing Nerve Cell Damage In MS And Other Neurological DisordersTopics: Medicine
Here's some potentially very good news for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) ...MS affects approximately 2.5 million people worldwide and Canadians have one of the highest rates of the disease in the world. Now, according to University of Calgary researchers who have shown that prolactin, a pregnancy-related hormone is responsible for rebuilding the protective coating around nerve cells, the mystery of why multiple sclerosis (MS) tends to go into remission while women are pregnant may be the secret to overcoming the devastating neurodegenerative disease.
In a paper to be published in the February 21 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, a team of researchers from the U of C's Faculty of Medicine reports that a study conducted on mice found that the hormone prolactin encourages the spontaneous production of myelin, the fatty substance that coats nerve cells and plays a critical role in transmitting messages in the central nervous system. A collaboration between the laboratories of Drs. Samuel Weiss and V. Wee Yong of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, the study is the first to determine that prolactin, which increases in the body during pregnancy, is directly responsible for the formation of new myelin in the brains and spinal cords of pregnant mice. Further, when non-pregnant mice with MS-like lesions were injected with prolactin, their myelin was also repaired.More at Science Daily.
... The research was based on evidence that MS, which is more common in women than men, goes into remission when women become pregnant. MS is a neurodegenerative disease where the body's own immune system attacks the myelin surrounding nerves, leading to progressive loss of sensation and movement.
... The paper's findings represent the first example of a natural, biological mechanism that produces new myelin in the adult brain and spinal cord and identifies prolactin as a potential therapeutic substance for future testing in people with MS.
Posted by Richard at February 21, 2007 6:42 PM
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