San Antonio.- A recent discovery in the workings of the central nervous system could mean a breakthrough in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
Manzoor Bhat, PH.D., who made the discovery, recently joined the staff of the University of Texas Health and Science Center in the summer as the professor and chairman of physiology and the Zachry Foundation Distinguished Chair in Neurosciences.
Multiple sclerosis is the result of the body attacking myelin, a seal protecting the fibers that nerves travel through, or axons.
The damage to certain proteins of the central nervous system slows down the signals. The results are the symptoms of MS, which include blurry vision, loss of balance and reduced motor function.
The doctor and his team discovered the proteins essential to the proper function of the nervous system.
Proteins Caspr and Neurofascin 155 combine to create the myelin covering. In the lab, mice with the genes coding for these proteins suffered severe paralysis.
The next step is finding a way to reverse the process with the new information provided.
“We are now ready to do inducible-rescue experiments in which we will turn a gene back on in a paralyzed mouse and hope to restore nerve functions,” Dr. Bhat stated.