Molecule Whose Fragments Appear to Block Myelin Repair Identified in Study

Source Multiple News Today: A molecule responsible for preventing the repair of white matter in the brain, a process critical to treating multiple sclerosis (MS) and cerebral palsy, has been identified.

The research, “A TLR/AKT/FoxO3 immune-tolerance like pathway disrupts the repair capacity of oligodendrocyte progenitors,” was published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

White matter in the brain’s white matter is composed of nerve fibres. Its colour comes from myelin, the protective layer wrapping nerve fibres that work to ensure proper cell communication. Damaged myelin is a hallmark of MS and other disorders.

Myelin is produced by cells called oligodendrocytes. Research shows that, in cases of chronic white matter injury, oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) — the precursor cells of oligodendrocytes — accumulate in lesion areas but are unable to produce myelin. Scientists believe this is due to the presence of fragments from a very large molecule called hyaluronic acid (HA); these small fragments also accumulate at lesion sites. Read on.