Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a disease that is characterized by the degradation of the myelin sheaths in the central nervous system (CNS). As one of the autoimmune diseases that our group has chosen to focus on, this autoimmune disease results in the interruption of nerve signals in the body, creating many cognitive and physical impairments upon the individual affected. This disease currently is very difficult to combat, and many patients lose a lot of their function over the course of many years. A recent study done by Maryam Ghasemi-Kasman, Leila Zare, Hossein Baharvand, and Mohammad Javan explored the ability to convert astrocytes within the CNS into oligodendroglia in vivo in order to combat the myelin destruction associated with this disease.
According to the study, when the degradation of myelin occurs, astrocytes appear in higher numbers at the injury site. These astrocytes change the inflammatory response in the body, creating a situation where the myelin cannot repair itself and therefore helps in the progression of nerve damage. The study completed by the four researchers above found that forcing the expression of the miR-302/367 cluster in astrocytes can create a situation where the astrocytes will turn into oligodendroglia, or nerve cells that naturally repair the myelin within the CNS. This study was completed using mice subjects, and after the above process was completed the study found an increase in neurological function within the mice and saw increased myelination via staining techniques. This conclusion shows a possibility for remyelination within the human body, which eventually could lead to the slowing if not the reversal of MS and other neurogenerative diseases.
The above information was found on the SCOPUS database. This study was published in the Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine in 2018. The DOI for the scientific journal is below.