Molecular target could stop demyelination

A study from the University of Edinburgh has discovered a molecular target that can protect nerves from damage in multiple sclerosis (MS) in mice.

Researchers have been working more than a decade to analyse a natural mechanism in the body which they have called ARMD (axonal response of mitochondria to demyelination).

Demyelination in MS happens when the body’s immune system attacks the myelin sheath, which is the protective coating around nerve cells. The ARMD process alone isn’t strong enough to prevent demyelination, but researchers found that a common diabetes drug pioglitazone can enhance the effect of the process.

Researchers said they hoped eventually these findings could lead to treatments for progressive MS. Published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica, the research was part-funded by the MS Society.