The pathological processes in MS are not well understood, but an important contributor to its progression is the infiltration of white blood cells involved in immune defense through the blood-brain barrier.
Douglas Feinstein, research professor in anesthesiology at the UIC College of Medicine, and his colleagues previously showed that the neurotransmitter noradrenaline plays an important role as an immunosuppressant in the brain, preventing inflammation and stress to neurons. Noradrenaline is also known to help to preserve the integrity of the blood-brain barrier.
Because the major source of noradrenaline is neurons in an area of the brain called the locus coeruleus, the UIC researchers hypothesized that damage to the LC was responsible for lowered levels of noradrenaline in the brains of MS patients. continue reading