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MS Patients Develop Antibodies Against Myelin Sheath Protein

Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein autoantibodies cause cell death, nerve damage in rats

MONDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- A subset of patients with multiple sclerosis develop autoantibodies targeting a myelin sheath protein called myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein, or MOG, according to a report published online Dec. 1 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

Bernhard Hemmer, M.D., of Heinrich Heine University in Duesseldorf, Germany, and colleagues used a highly sensitive bioassay to identify antibodies against MOG that were significantly higher in patients with multiple sclerosis, especially those with progressive disease, than in controls.

Autoantibodies from patients with elevated anti-MOG titers caused cultured cells expressing MOG to die and sera from such patients caused demyelination and nerve damage in rats similar to that seen in multiple sclerosis. The authors found predominantly IgG antibodies directed against extracellular epitopes of MOG.

"The occurrence of antibodies with demyelinating properties further supports the pathogenic role of the humoral immune system in multiple sclerosis and calls for the development of B cell-directed therapies not only for relapsing remitting but also primary progressive multiple sclerosis," the authors write.

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