High levels of protein found in brain tissue
Researchers at McGill University and the University of Alberta in Canada have made a surprising discovery that may help people living with multiple sclerosis (MS).
While studying human brain tissue, the researchers uncovered abnormally high levels of the protein calnexin, then performed further testing that validated the idea that the discovery could be used to help humans.
Mice lacking calnexin were tested for vulnerabilities to MS, and researchers observed that the mice lacking calnexin were resistant to the disease.
With relatively little known about the causes of MS, experts are hoping this latest discovery may shed some light in the direction of appropriate treatments for the future.
“It turns out that calnexin is somehow involved in controlling the function of the blood-brain barrier,” said Marek Michalak, a distinguished professor of biochemistry at the University of Alberta. “This structure usually acts like a wall and restricts the passage of cells and substances from the blood into the brain. When there is too much calnexin, this wall gives angry T cells access to the brain, where they destroy myelin.”
This news is a particularly welcome development in Canada, a country with one of the world’s highest rates of MS (one in 340 adults.)