A promising future for treatment?
In a follow-up study, Dr. Agalliu’s team found that endothelial cells produce a large quantity of a Wnt inhibitor – Apcdd1 – during development of the blood-retina barrier. The researchers concluded that by eliminating the inhibitor, this can result in repairment of the damaged barriers, including the blood-brain barrier in both human and mouse version of MS. “If we could eliminate Apcdd1, we might be able to increase Wnt activity in endothelial cells and fully repair the damaged barriers in diseases like MS. Many current MS therapies only target the immune system and though that may help alleviate symptoms, it won’t stop disease progression, because other inflammatory factors will still enter the brain through the barrier, triggering a cascade of pathologies that are independent of T cells. These new studies suggest that we need to focus on vascular function as well as immune function to effectively treat MS in the future,” said Dr. Agalliu.