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New therapeutic target for treatment of multiple sclerosis
Date:1/22/2008

Montreal, January 22, 2007 An international research team, led by a scientist from the Centre hospitalier de lUniversit de Montral (CHUM), has identified new therapeutic targets for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). In the February issue of Nature Immunology, the team provides fresh answers concerning the role of novel adhesion molecules in the pathogenesis of MS, a chronic autoimmune disease of the nervous system that affects approximately 55,000 young adults in Canada.

Conducted by Dr. Alexandre Prat, a CHUM neurologist and researcher and a professor at the Universit de Montrals Faculty of Medicine, the study included collaborators from McGill University (Dr. S. David), the Universit de Montral (Dr. N. Arbour), the National Research Council of Canada (Dr. D. Stanimirovic) and University of Zrich (Dr. B. Becher). The team found that the adhesion molecule dubbed ALCAM (Activated Leukocyte Cell Adhesion Molecule), or CD166, plays a major role in the migration of certain types of leukocytes to the brain.

The researchers believe that the molecule, which is expressed by the endothelial cells of the brain, constitutes a novel target to restrict migration of immune cells to the brain, thereby dampening neuroinflammation and decreasing the lesions characteristic of MS. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of brain inflammation is essential in the development of new treatments for MS.

Dr. Prat and his team clearly demonstrate that CD166/ALCAM is involved in the inflammatory process by priming the migration of leukocytes across the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The investigation combined the results of an in vitro human BBB model and an in vivo experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis mouse model. Normally, a limited number of immune cells are able to cross the BBB and penetrate the central nervous system. In MS and other neuroinflammatory diseases, the increased permeability of the BBB is associated with an increase in the transmigra
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Contact: Nathalie Forgue
nathalie.forgue.chum@ssss.gouv.qc.ca
51-489-080-001-4342
University of Montreal
Source:Eurekalert

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