Publication date: Oct 08, 2019
Scientists had assumed that these cells, known as oligodendrocyte progenitor cells, could only serve a favorable role in MS. These glial cells make up about 5 percent of the brain and spinal cord, and they play an important and beneficial role by making cells that produce myelin – insulation for nerve cells.
It has been thought that these progenitors do not efficiently give rise to myelin-producing cells in people with MS. Yet, UVA’s Alban Gaultier, PhD, and his team made the surprising discovery that they are also actively participating in the immune system’s harmful attacks on myelin.
The good news: The new insights into the progenitor cells suggest that doctors could potentially manipulate the environment inside the brain to avoid neurodegeneration and promote brain repair.
Alban Gaultier, Department of Neuroscience and Center for Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG), UVA That will be no easy feat, considering the multiple roles these progenitor cells play.
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