October 4, 2019 – Myelin Repair


Anchor lead: Some people with multiple sclerosis repair their own damage, Elizabeth Tracey reports

OPC is the acronym for a cell that seems to be involved in multiple sclerosis, both having the capacity to repair the insulation around nerve cells called myelin, but also promoting the disease process when inflammation is present, as shown recently by Peter Calabresi, an MS expert at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues. Calabresi says understanding what makes the cell either repair, called remyelination, or participate in progression of MS, is critical.

Calabresi: Ten to twenty percent of people with MS we see evidence for successful remyelination. Some people with MS do very well. I have some patients who have had MS for forty years with many lesions on their brain MRI, and they’re almost normal. The MRI can detect the residual change in the myelin, but we think that those people are remyelinating and just a few wraps of myelin around the axons protects the axons from degeneration, so those patients never become progressive and actually regain function.   :30

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.