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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Potential new MS drug could regenerate myelin

Published 
Thursday 19 July 2018

New research could lead to treatments for multiple sclerosis that regenerate myelin, the fatty coating that insulates nerve fibers and protects signals between brain cells.

Scientists from the University at Buffalo in New York find that the receptor muscarinic type 3 (M3R) is a "key regulator" of remyelination, which is the process that replenishes lost myelin.

M3R is found on the surface of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs), the precursors to the cells that make myelin.
A receptor is a cell-surface protein that triggers certain cell functions when it encounters and binds to a matching unique molecule.
The scientists showed that blocking M3R increased remyelination in mice that had human OPCs transplanted into them.
Senior study author Fraser J. Sim, an associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology, and his colleagues report their findings in a paper now published in The Journal of Neuroscience.
As myelin is destroyed, it forms lesions that weaken signals that travel along the nerve fibers, leading to disrupted communication between brain cells. Scientists have learned that the disease also damages the nerve cells themselves.

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