The body can repair nerve damage in MS – protein helps | Health City of Berlin


In multiple sclerosis (MS), nerve cells in the brain are damaged. A protein stimulates the body to repair nerve damage itself. Charite researchers found.

In multiple sclerosis, the insulating lining of nerve cells is damaged. Researchers at Charite – Universit├Ątsmedizin Berlin have now found a way to move the repair mechanism that limits this damage.

The results can serve as a basis for the development of new drugs for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. They are published in the journal Nature Communications.

The immune system attacks the myelin sheath

It is estimated that more than 200,000 people in Germany have multiple sclerosis. This is the most common autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. The patients suffer from visual and sensory disorders as well as limited coordination, fatigue and paralysis.

The reason for these symptoms is disturbed signal transmission in the brain or spinal cord. The immune system attacks what is called the myelin sheath, which encloses and electrically isolates nerve cells. Without a complete myelin sheath, communication between nerve cells is disrupted.

The body can repair nerve damage in MS itself

However, under certain conditions, the central nervous system is able to repair damaged myelin sheaths. Based on certain molecular signals, stem cells can turn into myelin repair cells, called oligodendrocytes. This allows the body to repair nerve damage in MS itself. Oligodendated cells then migrate from a small niche in the brain to the site of damage, where they restore electrical isolation of nerve cells.

The molecular signals that initiate the mechanism of regeneration of the body itself are poorly understood. "We have found that chi3l3 protein plays a key role in improving myelin," Dr. Sarah-Christin Starossom from the Charite Institute of Medical Immunology.

A protein infusion causes an increase in the formation of repair cells

The research team was able to show in mouse models that a reduction in the amount of Chi3l3 in the brain significantly damaged the regeneration of the body's own myelin sheath. In contrast, protein infusion results in an increase in the formation of myelin repair cells.

In the Petri dish, scientists can also observe this reaction in human cells. "We now want to use this knowledge to develop new generation drugs for the treatment of multiple sclerosis," explained Dr. med. Staro├čom. "The next step is to investigate whether the neurological symptoms of multiple sclerosis can be reduced by using Chi3l3 or related proteins."

Photo: tatomm /


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