Publication date: Apr 12, 2019
Credit: Casaccia Lab A newly published paper in the Lancet journal EBioMedicine identifies a link between high levels of blood lipids and worsening of disease in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who are overweight or obese.
“Our study identifies important correlations between ceramide levels, body mass index, and disease progression in MS patients,” said ASRC Neuroscience Initiative Director Patrizia Casaccia, a professor at The Graduate Center.
In this study, however, we also detect higher ceramide levels in the blood of overweight and obese MS patients than we did in patients with normal body mass index, suggesting that overabundant lipids can be derived not only from damaged brain cells, but also from excessive dietary intake of saturated fats. “
For the first group, 54 therapy-nacEFve MS patients 18 to 60 years old with high or normal body mass indexes (BMIs) were evaluated using brain MRI to identify signs of brain damage; a clinical assessment to ascertain weight, disabilities and other vital information; and blood tests to analyze the types of circulating lipids and white blood cells.
Researchers found that MS patients with high BMIs had higher ceramide levels and more circulating monocytes than were evident in healthy individuals with the same BMIs.
Significance The detection of ceramides inside the nucleus of blood cells and the ability of these lipids to induce epigenetic changes suggests that saturated fatty acids may have long-lasting functional effects, which over time steer the MS disease course towards worsening disability.
“We look forward to continuing to work on this important topic through future clinical studies to evaluate the impact of weight management and dietary intervention in MS. ” Castro et al, Body Mass Index in Multiple Sclerosis modulates ceramide-induced DNA methylation and disease course, EBioMedicine (2019).
- Body mass index trajectories in pediatric multiple sclerosis.
- Body Mass Index, but Not Age at Puberty, Linked to Higher MS Risk, Study Suggests
- BMI, but not age at puberty, tied to risk of multiple sclerosis
- NeurologyLive Launches Series of Educational Videos About MS
- Effectiveness of oral multiple sclerosis therapies in clinical context.