Gen may affect the course of MS

Gen may affect the course of MS



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Course of MS presumably influenced by gene

Researchers have succeeded in identifying a gene that affects the transmission rate of nerve fibers. This speed of nerve conduction is changed in multiple sclerosis (MS). The new findings could possibly improve future therapies.


Nerve conduction speed in MS changes Researchers from the Cluster of Excellence “Inflammation Research” and the University of Lübeck have now succeeded in identifying a gene that influences the transmission speed of nerve fibers. This speed of nerve conduction is changed in the severe chronic disease multiple sclerosis (MS). Future therapies for the disease could possibly be influenced by the new findings. According to press reports, the study, which was published in the international journal "The American Journal of Pathology", was funded by the German Research Foundation.

Genetic information stored in chromosomes Together with colleagues from Munich, Magdeburg, Spain, Austria and Sweden, the research team at the Lübeck Institute for Experimental Dermatology and the Institute for Medical Biometry and Statistics examined the genetic causes of changes in nerve conduction speeds. The genetic information for the construction of all body structures is stored in chromosomes. It was previously known in which section of the chromosome the information for nerve conduction speeds is located. As part of her doctoral thesis, doctor Susanne Lemcke, first author of the current study and member of the cluster of excellence "Inflammation at Interfaces", identified this chromosome area. "In a lengthy, detailed mapping, we screened the possible ones from several hundred genes," says Lemcke. According to this, a chromosome area contains too many genes for them to be examined in detail.

Ten genes examined more closely Scientists examined around ten genes that could be used to control the speed of nerve conduction. The researchers finally identified the so-called candidate gene, which causes changes in the conduction speeds in the nerves, in the mouse model. Lemcke summarized the new findings as follows: “We were able to show that small variants in the genome, known as SNPs, influence the propagation of the signals along the nerve fiber. It is fascinating that such genetic mutations, which only change a single 'gene letter' at a specific point in the genome, influence the rate of nerve conduction. "

New approaches for prevention and treatment A connection between the occurrence of the newly discovered gene variant and the occurrence of MS could be demonstrated in an additional study that compared healthy and people with MS. "Our results could lead to new approaches for the prevention and treatment of MS," says study leader and cluster member Professor Saleh Ibrahim. "In our next step, we want to research how strongly changes in the genome are associated with the severity of the MS disease." According to estimates, over 120,000 people in Germany suffer from MS. The first signs of the chronic inflammatory disease can include abnormal sensations, tingling hands and feet, visual disturbances, numbness in the legs, paralysis, dizziness, balance and strength disorders. (ad)

Image: Rainer Sturm / pixelio.de

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