More MS news articles for Nov 2001

Osteopontin Gene May Play Central Role in Multiple Sclerosis

WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) Nov 26 - Transcripts of the osteopontin gene are abundant in the plaques from brains of patients with multiple sclerosis and in spinal cord in a rat model of MS, investigators report. This proinflammatory cytokine may thus represent a potential target in the treatment of MS.

According to their report in the November 23rd issue of Science, the investigators then induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a model of MS, in mice using myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide 35-55.

In mice that completely lacked osteopontin, the disease severity was significantly reduced compared with control mice. The osteopontin-knockout mice also exhibited more remissions, and their T cells exhibited a reduced proliferative response. These mice also produced more myelin-specific interleukin-10.

"Sustained expression of interleukin-10 may thus be an important factor in the reversal of relapsing MS, and its absence may allow the development of secondary progressive MS," Dr. Steinman and his associates write.

According to Dr. Steinman, he and his group have developed a small molecule that has shown promise in depleting osteopontin in animal models. "So down the road we would like to bring this approach into the clinic," he said.

"One other approach we're interested in is using DNA vaccination [in which DNA is generated to encode one form of osteopontin] to accomplish this kind of endpoint, and that also looks promising," Dr. Steinman added.

Science 2001;294:1731-1735.

Copyright © 2001 Reuters Ltd