Is multiple sclerosis detectable long before onset?
Antibody found in blood could now determine onset of MS years before it occurs
Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, a degenerative disease that afflicts primarily women, has been difficult to detect before onset. However, new research has recently identified an antibody linked with MS which might be detectable in blood samples of individuals before the onset of symptoms. and disease occur. Doctors say that if these tests prove relevant, they can hopefully prevent MS symptoms from occurring.
Once these markers are identified and linked to the disease, scientists will be able to develop better treatment and preventive regimens.
The development of antibodies prior to onset of disease suggests the protein's potential role in the development of MS. Essentially, KIR4.1 protein could be proven as an early indicator of Multiple Sclerosis, similar to how the BRCA mutation has become recognized as an early indicator of genetic disposition to certain forms of cancer development.
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Once these markers are identified and linked to the disease, scientists will be able to develop better treatment and preventive regimens. They will also be able to detect Multiple Sclerosis years before onset.
The preliminary research study was performed in Munich, Germany at Technical University. The sample groups used for the study included 16 blood donors who were later diagnosed with MS compared to 16 blood donors of the same gender and age who did not develop the disease.
Blood samples were collected between two and nine months prior to the onset of symptoms. Scientists looked for evidence of the KIR4.1 protein.
All 16 members from the healthy control group who did not develop MS tested negative for the KIR4.1 protein. The affected group of 16 who were later diagnosed with MS showed mixed results.
Seven test subject tested positive for the antibody marker, two had borderline activity results, and seven tested negative for the KIR4.1 protein marker.
Researchers then looked at antibody levels in the blood at various time to six years before -- and then after the onset of MS diagnosis among those subjects who tested positive for the KIR4.1 protein marker. They discovered the presence of KIR4.1 protein in varying concentration levels at different time points among these individuals affected by MS.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system. It's also believed to have an autoimmune component in which the body's own immune system attacks other systems of the body. In the case of MS, this is specific to how the immune system attacks the central nervous system of MS sufferers.
The myelin sheaths that encompass and safeguard the nerve fibers of the central nervous system are damaged by MS. The damaged myelin develops scars or patches on the nerve fibers that impede the transmission of nerve signals.
Sufferers tend to live normal life expectancies although more severe cases could potentially shorten a MS sufferer's lifespan. Moreover, the pathology and severity of attacks among MS sufferers can very greatly on an individual basis.
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