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Natural intestinal flora involved in the emergence of multiple sclerosis
Date:10/27/2011

lanck researchers now assume that multiple sclerosis is triggered by the natural intestinal flora.

This astonishing finding was made possible by newly developed genetically modified mice. In the absence of exposure to any external influences, inflammatory reactions arise in the brains of these animals which are similar to those associated with multiple sclerosis in humans however, this only occurs when the mice have intact intestinal flora. Mice without microorganisms in their intestines and held in a sterile environment remained healthy. When the scientists "vaccinated" the animals raised in sterile conditions with normal intestinal microorganisms, they also became ill.

According to the Martinsried-based researchers, the intestinal flora influence immune systems in the digestive tract; mice without intestinal flora have fewer T cells there. Moreover, these animals' spleen produces fewer inflammatory substances, like cytokines. In addition, their B cells produce few or no antibodies against myelin. When the researchers restored the intestinal flora to the mice, their T cells and B cells increased their cytokine and antibody production.

"It appears that the immune system is activated in two stages: to begin, the T cells in the lymph vessels of the intestinal tract become active and proliferate. Together with the surface proteins of the myelin layer, these then stimulate the B cells to form pathogenic antibodies. Both processes trigger inflammatory reactions in the brain which progressively destroy the myelin layer a process that is very similar to the way multiple sclerosis develops in humans," says Gurumoorthy Krishnamoorthy from the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology. Thus, the disease is caused by changes in the immune system and not by disturbances in the functioning of the nervous system. "Multiple sclerosis research has long been preoccupied with this question of cause and effect. Our findings would suggest that the immune syst
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Contact: Dr Gurumoorthy Krishnamoorthy
guru@neuro.mpg.de
49-898-578-3561
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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