Posted by: Thixia | October 16, 2008

MS Patient’s Spinal Fluid has More TREM-2

     A triggering receptor expressed in myeloid cells-2 (TREM-2) is more abundant in the spinal fluid of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), further boosting suspicion that the protein may be an important contributor to the disease, according to a study published in Brain.

 

      Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri found that the extra TREM-2 was not in the right place to reduce aggression in immune cells, a revelation that could eventually lead scientists to new pharmaceutical targets for MS prevention.

 

      “Previously, TREM-2 had only been seen on the surface of immune cells; in the new study, we found it floating freely in spinal fluid,” said lead author Laura Piccio, MD, Washington University School of Medicine.

 

      “This is only speculation for now, but these ‘free agent’ copies of TREM-2 could be making it harder for the TREM-2 that is attached to immune cells to keep the cells’ aggressiveness under control.”

 

      “The main thing we knew about MS and the function of TREM-2 before this study was that blocking TREM-2 in a mouse model of MS made their conditions worse,” said senior author Anne Cross, MD, Washington University School of Medicine.

 

      After Dr. Piccio identified TREM-2 in the spinal fluid, she compared that form of the protein in patients with various types of MS, patients with other inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system, and patients with non-inflammatory central nervous system diseases.

 

      To ensure that the soluble TREM-2 wasn’t seeping into the patients’ spinal fluid from the bloodstream, they also analysed TREM-2 levels in blood.

 

      While there were no differences in blood levels, the soluble form of TREM-2 was significantly higher in the spinal fluid of MS patients.

 

      SOURCE: Washington University School of Medicine

 

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