Fibrinogen-containing vesicles in blood were seen to be “sufficient and required” for spontaneous disease relapses in mouse models of MS, a study reports.
Vesicles in the blood that contain a protein called fibrinogen important for blood clotting were found to be “sufficient and required” for the occurrence of spontaneous disease relapses in mouse models of multiple sclerosis (MS), a study reports.
In mice, these vesicles were associated with immune cell infiltration, inflammation, and loss of myelin in the central nervous system. The vesicles were also detected in the bloodstream of MS patients.
According to the researchers, this may help them understand why some patients go through recurrent disease flares (relapses) between periods where symptoms lessen (remission), as well as to help find early biomarkers for the disease.
The study, Extracellular vesicle fibrinogen induces encephalitogenic CD8+ T cells in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis,” was published in the journal PNAS.
For reasons that remain unclear, in MS patients, some cells of the immune system turn against neurons and other cells of the central nervous system (CNS) — the brain and spinal cord — progressively destroying the insulating layer around nerve fibers, called myelin.
A particular kind of immune cells, known as CD8+ T-cells — a part of the immune system that normally eliminates cells infected by viruses, certain bacteria, or cancer cells — seem to be a major culprit in this harmful autoimmune response.
Although the self-attacking immune response is not exactly the same in mouse models of MS, new research by investigators from UConn Health, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), and the Gladstone Institutes found a trigger that activates CD8+ T-cells and drives disease flares in these mice. And the mechanism they uncovered may well be very close to what happens in humans with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS).
The team was interested in studying extracellular vesicles, or EVs, which are small “blobs” secreted by cells, often containing proteins and genetic information, which work as carriers conveying messages between cells. EVs have been grabbing increasing attention from scientists due to their role as mediators of cell communication, implicated in inflammation and disease.
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