Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protein Fragment May Generate First Simple Test For Multiple Sclerosis

Date:
March 3, 2006
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
Johns Hopkins scientists report the discovery of a protein found only in cerebrospinal fluid that they say might be useful in identifying a subgroup of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) or identifying those at risk for the debilitating autoimmune disorder.

Johns Hopkins scientists report the discovery of a protein found only in cerebrospinal fluid that they say might be useful in identifying a subgroup of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) or identifying those at risk for the debilitating autoimmune disorder.

Related Articles


MS strikes over 10,000 Americans each year, most of whom are women, and causes weakness, numbness, a loss of muscle coordination, and problems with vision, speech, and bladder control. It is a disorder in which the immune system destroys myelin, the covering of nerves that helps transmit signals. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is the watery fluid that surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord.

The federally funded Hopkins research, reported in the February issue of the Annals of Neurology, is important, the researchers say, because unlike other autoimmune diseases in which the body attacks its own tissues, MS cannot be diagnosed with a simple blood or other test.

While it is recognized that there might be several forms of MS, laboratory-based tests need to be developed to diagnose these subtypes.

"There is the possibility now that the protein we identified, 12.5 kDa cystatin, can be used to diagnose MS, perhaps in its earliest stages, and also to monitor treatment by measuring its levels in CSF," says Avindra Nath, M.D., a professor in the Department of Neurology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and lead author of the study.

Working with human CSF, the Hopkins team showed that 12.5 kDa cystatin is a breakdown product of a larger protein called cystatin C or 13.4kDa, which in turn blocks activity of some enzymes, including cathepsin B. Cathepsin B has been linked to demyelination-the destruction of the nerve sheath. The term kDa refers to Kilodalton, the weight of one molecule of a substance.

"In fact, those patients who had more of the breakdown product of 12.5 kDa cystatin also seemed to have the highest cathepsin B inhibition," Nath said.

The investigators made their finding using a sophisticated technique called SELDI-time-of-flight mass spectroscopy that can find one specific protein in a complex mixture based on its weight. They used it to examine CSF samples from 29 patients with MS or pre-MS symptoms such as numbness on one side; 27 patients with transverse myelitis, a painful inflammation of spinal cord nerves; 50 infected with the AIDS virus (which can cause nerve damage); and 27 with other neurological diseases. The Hopkins scientists analyzed CSF instead of blood samples because CSF better represents local events in the brain than does blood, according to Nath. And the high concentrations of many proteins in the blood can mask proteins that might be biomarkers for MS, he added.

The team found that the 12.5kDa fragment of cystatin C occurred in CSF samples from two-thirds of patients with MS or the pre-MS conditions. Moreover, although total cystatin C levels in MS patients were not different from control patients without the disease, patients with MS had a larger proportion of the 12.5 kDa compared to 13.4 kDa cystatin C than did other patients. Thus, the presence of the 12.5 kDa fragment might identify a subgroup of MS patients.

###

The other authors of this study include Daniel N. Irani and Douglas A. Kerr, departments of Neurology and Molecular Microbiology and Immunology; Caroline Anderson, Justin C. McArthur, Ned Sacktor, Melina Jones and Peter Calabresi, Department of Neurology; Rebekah Gundry and Robert Cotter, Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences; Stacy Moore, Ciphergen Biosystems Inc., Freemont, Calif.; Carlos A. Pardo, Departments of Neurology and Pathology.

This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and by a Collaborative Center Grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Protein Fragment May Generate First Simple Test For Multiple Sclerosis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060303114724.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (2006, March 3). Protein Fragment May Generate First Simple Test For Multiple Sclerosis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060303114724.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Protein Fragment May Generate First Simple Test For Multiple Sclerosis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060303114724.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins