domingo, 11 de diciembre de 2016

Vitamin D blocks damage in multiple sclerosis (MS), early studies show: Discoveries

Resultado de imagen de esclerosis multiple resonancia
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Vitamin D may block the damaging action of the immune cells that go on the attack in multiple sclerosis and cause brain lesions, preventing the cells from entering the brain and spinal cord at all, according to early research in mice performed at Johns Hopkins University.
While the study's results, published online Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, have yet to be confirmed in people with MS, they may help better explain how the disease works, how to treat it, and why certain people are more prone to developing it.
It's well established that people who live farther away from the equator, in any part of the world, are more likely to have MS. Because of this, researchers have suspected a link between the disease and sun exposure, or the Vitamin D that the sun provides.
"The question then was 'how, if vitamin D is helpful for MS, is it working?'" said the study's senior author Anne Gocke, an assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins.
Gocke and her team gave a group of mice a rodent form of MS, which stimulates their immune systems to attack the brain. At the same time, the researchers gave the mice a high dose of Vitamin D.
In MS, she explained, there are two particular types of t-helper immune cells that cause disease, called Th1 and Th17. Normally these cells are useful in fighting off viral infections, but in MS, they make their way into the brain and target the myelin sheaths that surround and protect nerve cells.
The disease affects about 2.3 million people worldwide, and roughly 400,000 people in the United States. MS is two to three times as common in women as men and is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, according to the National MS Society.
Gocke's group found that a high dose of Vitamin D prevented the Th1 and Th17 from entering the brains of the mice they treated. The effect lasted as long as they gave the mice the Vitamin D, she said.
As soon as they stopped treatment, the mice became ill.
"We thought this was the most interesting part of the study," she said, because many of the current immune-suppressing MS treatments take weeks to clear from the body, making it difficult to treat patients who have rapid-onset infections.
Of course, whether the treatment will work in people remains to be seen. Clinical trials of Vitamin D as a treatment for MS are currently underway at Johns Hopkins and several international locations.
"It's been shown that it is definitely helpful in animal models," said Gocke, though for now the strongest evidence in people remains the epidemiological data showing higher disease rates at northern latitudes.
Still, the current study is encouraging, Gocke said.
"The most important thing is that the way Vitamin D works in T-cells in mice is the same way that it works in people," she said.

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