Navigation Links
Pregnancy hormone key to repairing nerve cell damage

The mystery of why multiple sclerosis (MS) tends to go into remission while women are pregnant may be the secret to overcoming the devastating neurodegenerative disease, according to University of Calgary researchers who have shown that a pregnancy-related hormone is responsible for rebuilding the protective coating around nerve cells.

In a paper to be published in the February 21 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, a team of researchers from the U of C's Faculty of Medicine reports that a study conducted on mice found that the hormone prolactin encourages the spontaneous production of myelin, the fatty substance that coats nerve cells and plays a critical role in transmitting messages in the central nervous system. A collaboration between the laboratories of Drs. Samuel Weiss and V. Wee Yong of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, the study is the first to determine that prolactin, which increases in the body during pregnancy, is directly responsible for the formation of new myelin in the brains and spinal cords of pregnant mice. Further, when non-pregnant mice with MS-like lesions were injected with prolactin, their myelin was also repaired.

The research was based on evidence that MS, which is more common in women than men, goes into remission when women become pregnant. MS is a neurodegenerative disease where the body's own immune system attacks the myelin surrounding nerves, leading to progressive loss of sensation and movement. MS affects approximately 2.5 million people worldwide and Canadians have one of the highest rates of the disease in the world.

"It is thought that during pregnancy, women's immune systems no longer destroyed the myelin," said Weiss, director of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and senior author of the study. "However, no previous study has tested whether pregnancy actually results in the production of new myelin, which may lead to improvement of symptoms." The paper's findings represent the first example of a natural, biological mechanism that produces new myelin in the adult brain and spinal cord and identifies prolactin as a potential therapeutic substance for future testing in people with MS.

"Agents promoting remyelination will be beneficial not only for typical demyelinating diseases like MS," says Dr. Fred (Rusty) Gage, of the Salk Institute, "but also for many other neurological disorders, such as spinal cord injuries and stroke." Gage, an international leader in nervous system repair, was not involved in this study.

Subsequent tests of prolactin in animal models of MS will be required before testing of prolactin on humans can take place, but MS researchers are hopeful human trials can take place within the next several years.

"This discovery has the potential to take MS therapy a step further than current treatments that stabilize the disease in its early stages. By promoting repair, which is the goal of prolactin therapy, we have hope of actually improving symptoms in people with MS," says Dr. Luanne Metz, director of the Calgary MS Clinic in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Calgary and Calgary Health Region.

The study, authored by Weiss, Christopher Gregg, Viktor Shikar, Peter Larsen, Gloria Mak, Andrew Chojnacki and Yong, compared pregnant and virgin female mice of the same age and found that pregnant mice had twice as many myelin-producing cells, called oligodendrocytes, and continued to generate new ones during pregnancy. By chemically destroying myelin around nerve cells, the researchers found that pregnant mice had twice as much new myelin two weeks following the damage as virgin mice and that introducing prolactin mimicked the effects of pregnancy on myelin production and repair in mice that weren't pregnant.

"The results of this study should be well received by people living with MS today," said Dr. William McIlroy, national medical advisor for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. "It represents a new insight of how we might be able to reverse some of the effects of the disease and improve the quality of life for those who live under its influence."


'"/>

Source:University of Calgary


Related biology news :

1. Pregnancy drugs can affect grandkids
2. Female sex hormones play a vital role in defense against sexually transmitted diseases
3. Deficiency of growth hormone and IGF-1 reduces cancer and kidney disease, but creates other problems
4. Measuring hormone cuts antibiotic use in half in pneumonia patients
5. Alcohol consumption disrupts breastfeeding hormones
6. VCU study shows hormone-like molecule kills cells that cause inflammation in allergic disease
7. University of Nevada, Reno research team discovers hormone that causes malaria mosquito to urinate
8. Penguin chicks exposed to human visitors experience spike in stress hormone
9. Suppressing growth hormone in early adulthood may prevent cancer
10. Growth hormone is made in the brain, report scientists
11. Learning and memory stimulated by gut hormone
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/28/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO and BANGALORE, India ... part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... service provider, today announced a global partnership that ... convenient way to use mobile banking and payment services. ... Mobility is a key innovation area for financial services, but ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their ... , The analysts forecast the global ... of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... of sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... April 15, 2016 Research ... Gait Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to their offering.  ... ) , ,The global gait biometrics market is ... during the period 2016-2020. Gait analysis ... can be used to compute factors that are ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... on what they believe could be a new and helpful biomarker for malignant ... Click here to read it now. , Biomarkers are components in ...
(Date:6/27/2016)...  Liquid Biotech USA , ... Sponsored Research Agreement with The University of Pennsylvania ... cancer patients.  The funding will be used to ... clinical outcomes in cancer patients undergoing a variety ... employed to support the design of a therapeutic, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... While the majority of commercial ... Cary 5000 and the 6000i models are higher end machines that use the more ... the spectrophotometer’s light beam from the bottom of the cuvette holder. , FireflySci ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical , an ... designed to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that ... Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and ... cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is ... inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: