An Interesting Study Suggests the Use of Skin Cells Might Help in Treating People with Multiple Sclerosis
Our brains are amazing. It is a very important organ in our body that is responsible for controlling the different aspects of our system. Despite its powerful abilities, our brains are actually quite fragile and damage to its neural circuitry can prove to be dangerous in the long run.
One medical condition known as Multiple Sclerosis is characterized by the thinning of the protective sheath of nerve cells known as the Myelin. Once the protective sheath is gone, the nerve cells might not work as intended anymore since they are vulnerable to damage. Once that is damaged, some of our voluntary and involuntary movements will be impaired.
For instance, people who suffer from MS might have a hard time in creating speech, they might have a hard time using their muscles and movement, and they might even suffer from impaired vision as well as other symptoms.
As of now, there are now potential cures for this dreaded disease and sadly, it affects a sizable portion of the world’s population.
However, there might be a glimmer of hope as one study has used reprogrammed skin cells to generate new neural cells to help treat Multiple Sclerosis.
A group of researchers who were led by the lead scientist, Dr. Stefano Pluchino, conducted a study using reprogrammed skin cells. These skin cells were transformed into what is known as the Induced Neural Stem Cells or iNSCs or in other words stem cell.
Back in the day, embryonic stem cells were used to replenish lost or damaged neurons and neural cells. However, its use is actually shunned by the medical groups because the acquisition of such stem cells is considered highly controversial.
So, what they did was they got some skin cells from mice and reprogrammed it to become iNSCs in the hopes that it will make new neural cells similar to what embryonic stem cells can do.
The study gave surprising results! It was found that the mice that exhibited symptoms of MS were able to have their levels of succinate- a metabolite that is responsible for the increase in microglia, that is then responsible for triggering an inflammation response in the brain that, ultimately leads to nerve damage, reduced.
This, in turn, reduced the inflammation in the mice’s brains and a few days after, their level of neural cells were higher than it used to.
Since there is a reduction in the inflammation in the brain, the mice were able to move much better now compared to when they still had high levels of succinate.
That being said, the study still does not involve clinical or human trials, but Pluchino and his team might transition to that in the near future.
This presents an interesting notion that one day, we can finally treat a previously incurable disease. People who are suffering from this chronic condition may one day enjoy the life that they’re supposed to experience in the first place.