Treating Multiple Sclerosis with Estriol Reverses Brain Damage, Study Finds
A recent study conducted by UCLA Health has discovered that treating a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS) with the pregnancy hormone estriol can reverse the breakdown of myelin in the brain’s cortex. The cortex is a key region that is often affected in individuals with MS. This breakthrough could potentially lead to new treatments for MS patients.
The Role of Estriol in Multiple Sclerosis
In individuals with MS, inflammation prompts the immune system to strip away the protective myelin coating around nerve fibers in the brain’s cortex. This process hampers the electrical signals sent and received by the brain. The atrophy of the cortex in MS patients is associated with a permanent worsening of disability, including cognitive decline, visual impairment, weakness, and sensory loss.
Currently, there are no available treatments for MS that can repair the damage to myelin. Existing treatments primarily target inflammation to reduce symptom flare-ups and prevent new nerve tissue scarring. However, previous research led by UCLA found that estriol, a type of estrogen hormone produced during pregnancy, reduced brain atrophy and improved cognitive function in individuals with MS.
Repairing Damage Caused by MS
In the new study conducted by UCLA, researchers treated a mouse model of MS with estriol and observed promising results. The treatment not only prevented brain atrophy but also induced remyelination in the cortex. This indicates that estriol has the potential to repair the damage caused by MS, rather than just slowing down the destruction of myelin.
This study is groundbreaking as it is the first to identify a treatment that can specifically repair myelin in the cortex, undoing some of the damage caused by MS. These findings offer hope for the development of new therapies to treat MS and improve the quality of life for patients.
Study Authors and Conclusion
The corresponding author of this study is Allan MacKenzie-Graham, an associate professor of neurology at UCLA. The other authors include Cassandra Meyer, Andrew Smith, Aitana A. Padilla-Requerey, Vista Farkhondeh, Noriko Itoh, Yuichiro Itoh, Josephine Gao, Patrick Herbig, Quynhanh Nguyen, Katelyn Ngo, Mandavi Oberoi, Prabha Siddarth, and Rhonda R. Voskuhl, all from UCLA.
This study demonstrates the potential of using estriol as a treatment for MS. By repairing myelin in the cortex, estriol could have a significant impact on slowing down the progression of the disease and improving neurological function in MS patients. Further research and clinical trials are needed to validate these findings and bring this promising treatment option to those affected by MS.