March 28, 2008
Potential new target for multiple sclerosis therapy
Researchers demonstrate both genetic and pharmaceutical evidence for the role of a protein called collagenase-2 in the development of multiple sclerosis (MS), providing a potential new way to combat this debilitating disease.
Collagenase-2 is a member of a protein family called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs, collagenase-2 is MMP8), a large group of enzymes that break down collagen and other components of the body's connective tissue. MMPs have been implicated in contributing to MS by degrading the tissue that maintains the blood-brain barrier, thus allowing unwanted cells to invade and break down nerves. In fact, MMPs are found in elevated amounts in the blood and spinal fluid of diseased individuals.