This week I decided to look deeper into remyelination. As mentioned in last week’s post, patients with MS experience demyelination. Their immune system attacks the myelin sheaths on their nerve fibers, which are needed to transmit signals from the brain. Other than the death of oligodendrocytes, a cause of demyelination is the “robust immune responses mediated by microglia, which are the resident immune cells of the central nervous system.” (multiplesclerosisnewstoday) Recent studies show that microglia may actually be beneficial in promoting remyelination by promoting regeneration and clearing myelin debris.
“Aiming to better understand the role of microglia in MS, scientists at Université Laval, in Canada, administered a molecule called macrophage colony-stimulating factor (mCSF) to mice receiving dietary cuprizone.” (multiplesclerosisnewstoday) The mCSF shifted the microglia to become anti-inflammatory, promoting remyelination. This research suggests that “mCSF would be an ideal target for a clinical trial in individuals diagnosed with primary and secondary progressive MS.”