Multiple sclerosis is a complex disease characterized by three elements: inflammation, demyelination, and gliosis.
Inflammation is a reaction of the immune system when it tries to destroy something recognized as foreign and dangerous.
Demyelination is the loss of the myelin sheath, a kind of insulation of nerve fibres, which allows the rapid diffusion of sensory and motor information along the nerves.
Gliosis is the changes in glial cells in response to CNS damage and may lead to development of a scar due to inflammation.
Neuroimmunology is the science that focuses on the molecules involved in the inflammatory reactions of the nervous system. Discovering these molecules helps improve the diagnostic pathway and develop new drugs for the treatment of neurological disease.
Recently, a group of Mexican researchers carried out a study on two molecules, called SOCS1 and SOCS3.
These molecules seem to be involved in nervous system inflammation in MS. The researchers measured the expression of SOCS1 and SOCS3 in leukocytes – the immune cells responsible for myelin damage – and their association with patients’ disease progression.
The results shown a significant reduction of SOCS1 production and increased production of SOCS3 in patients with MS compared to healthy subjects.
This suggests that the imbalance in the production of these two molecules may play a role in MS inflammation.
If new molecules responsible for brain and spinal cord inflammation in MS are discovered, it will be possible to create drugs that stop these molecules, thereby stopping the inflammation.
Further studies are needed in larger groups of patients to clarify the role of SOCS1 and SOCS3 in MS evolution.