Public Release: 

New research finds the first evidence of a rogue protein in multiple sclerosis

University of Surrey

In a new study published today in the journal Frontiers in Neurology, a team of researchers led by the University of Surrey, have identified a rogue protein in multiple sclerosis, which attacks the body's central nervous system. Researchers believe this finding could pave the way for better understanding of multiple sclerosis and new treatments against neurodegenerative diseases.

Scientists have previously known that rogue proteins cause brain damage in other diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

In this study, scientists from the University of Surrey, University of Texas Medical Center and PrioCam Laboratories produced unique molecules, called antibodies, to fight against these rogue proteins. They discovered that these antibodies were able to recognise rogue proteins in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, as well as additional molecules associated with other neurodegenerative diseases.

The antibodies were then used to investigate whether rogue proteins existed in the brain tissue and spinal fluid of patients with multiple sclerosis. The scientists concluded that multiple sclerosis may be caused by a protein that permanently adopts a rogue state.

"Multiple sclerosis represents a substantial health burden, affecting the quality of life of many people," said Dr Mourad Tayebi from the University of Surrey.

"Our discovery proposes a new and alternative way to conduct research into multiple sclerosis, by, for the first time, identifying a clear link to other neurodegenerative diseases. The results are important in redefining the molecular and cellular make-up of these diseases, and provides an important milestone in the quest for a laboratory test and an effective cure."

Co-Senior author, Dr Monique David from the PrioCam, said, "Our research indicates that rogue proteins share a common structure and may share similar pathogenic mechanisms. This study consistently and reproducibly links the presence of abnormally shaped proteins to multiple sclerosis."

###

Media enquiries: Peter La, Media Relations Office at the University of Surrey, Tel: 01483 689191 or E-mail: p.la@surrey.ac.uk

Notes to Editors:

The University of Surrey is one of the UK's leading professional, scientific and technological universities with a world class research profile and a reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Ground-breaking research at the University is bringing direct benefit to all spheres of life - helping industry to maintain its competitive edge and creating improvements in the areas of health, medicine, space science, the environment, communications, defence and social policy. Programmes in science and technology have gained widespread recognition and it also boasts flourishing programmes in dance and music, social sciences, management and languages and law. In addition to the campus on 150 hectares just outside Guildford, Surrey, the University also owns and runs the Surrey Research Park, which provides facilities for 110 companies employing 2,750 staff.

About Frontiers

Frontiers is a community-driven open-access publisher and research networking platform. Established by scientists in 2007, Frontiers drives innovations in peer-review, article level metrics, post publication review, democratic evaluation, research networking and a growing ecosystem of open-science tools. The "Frontiers in" journal series has published 25,000 peer-reviewed articles across 49 journals, which receive 6 million monthly views, and are supported by over 160,000 leading researchers worldwide. In 2014, Frontiers won the ALPSP Innovation in Publishing Award. For more information, visit: http://www.frontiersin.org

Article title: Detection of Protein Aggregates in Brain and Cerebrospinal Fluid Derived from Multiple Sclerosis Patients

DOI: 10.3389/fneur.2014.00251

http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fneur.2014.00251/full

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.