Features of MS can present earlier than once thought
Dr. Dritan Agalliu also commented on the contact points between the blood-brain barrier’s endothelial cells in the mouse model version of MS. “The first thing we found is that contacts between endothelial cells—the so-called tight junctions—break down very early in the course of MS, before we see any clinical manifestations. This is the first in vivo evidence that blood-brain barrier dysfunction is an early and prominent feature of the disease,” he said. Dr. Agalliu also saw that rogue immune cells, Th17 and Th1, function differently in exploiting loose junctions and affecting the CNS. Therefore, mice lacking in the specialized structures, known as caveolae, comprise of fewer Th1 cells in the CNS and reduced symptoms of MS. “Tightening loose junctions and targeting this transportation system across the damaged blood-brain barrier could potentially prevent both types of immune cells from entering the nervous system and reduce or halt disease progression,” said Dr. Agalliu.