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Friday, April 15, 2016

High Lactate Levels in MS Patients Tied to Disease Progression, Mitochondrial Dysfunction


Scientists in recent years have wondered whether a link exists between high lactate levels resulting from mitochondrial dysfunction and multiple sclerosis (MS) progression. Now researchers in Italy showed that lactate, a metabolic byproduct, is indeed increased in the cerebrospinal fluid of MS patients and may be a disease driver.
Mitochondria are the body’s energy factories, converting nutrients into energy with the help of oxygen. When mitochondrial function in brain neurons is disrupted, these powerhouses produce excess levels of lactate, normally only used to meet neuronal energy demands. (Neurons are believed to use lactate, and not glucose, as their primary source of energy.)
Earlier studies investigating lactate in MS patients reported contradictory findings, with data revealing increased, decreased, or unchanged levels of lactate depending on the study at hand. Researchers from the University of Rome, Tor Vergata, Italy, argued that these studies were either too small or explored the issue in too widely diverse groups of patients to be definitive.
Their study, Cerebrospinal fluid lactate is associated with multiple sclerosis disease progression,” measured lactate, along with tau protein and neurofilament light, two other markers of damage to myelinated neurons in patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). The study included 118 patients, followed for an average of five years, and 157 controls.
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