Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protein From Tick Saliva Studied For Potential Myasthenia Gravis Treatment

Date:
April 4, 2009
Source:
Saint Louis University
Summary:
Researchers have found that a protein in tick saliva shows promise as a potential treatment for the debilitating neuromuscular disorder myasthenia gravis.

Looking for a better treatment for the autoimmune disease myasthenia gravis, researchers have found that a protein in tick saliva shows promise in limiting the severity of the disease in an animal model in a study published in the Annals of Neurology.

"This disease can leave patients weak and on breathing machines, and conventional treatments can be toxic," said Henry Kaminski, M.D., chair of the department of neurology and psychiatry at Saint Louis University and one of the nation's leading experts on myasthenia gravis. "There is a real need for better treatments. This study is a step in that direction."

Myasthenia gravis is a highly debilitating, chronic neuromuscular disorder that affects about 400 to 600 per 1 million people, and roughly 1,100 to 1,700 people in the St. Louis area. Symptoms include weakness in the arms and legs, chronic muscle fatigue, difficulty breathing, difficulty chewing and swallowing, slurred speech, droopy eyelids and blurred or double vision.

While drugs like prednisone, a corticosteroid, can be effective in treating the disorder, they also can carry a host of severe side effects, including pronounced weight gain, osteoporosis, glaucoma and diabetes.

Other treatments, intravenous immunoglobulin and plasmapheresis, which involve blood plasma, are expensive and can have rare but serious side-effects such as infections, heart attacks and stroke.

Doctors believe that myasthenia gravis is caused by an overreaction of the complement system, a component of the immune system that specifically defends against parasites, bacteria and other pathogens. Antibodies block nerve receptors at the neuromuscular junction, the place where nerves connect with muscles, and then activate complement which prevents muscle contraction from occurring, causing weakness.

To impede the complement system's misplaced response, researchers hope a new class of drugs, called complement inhibitors, may stop the body's defense system from attacking itself.

Other researchers discovered that rEV576, a protein found in tick saliva, works as a complement inhibitor, allowing ticks to avoiding setting off an immune response in their human host.

SLU researchers in collaboration with Varleigh Limited tested the protein on two groups of rats with mild and severe models of myasthenia gravis. The health of rats that were given the complement inhibitor rEV576 improved, with reduced weakness and weight loss.

Researchers hope rEV576 could have therapeutic value in human myasthenia gravis. And, because ticks apply themselves to people without causing a reaction, researchers are optimistic that rEV576 will not cause allergic reactions or other negative side effects.

"Complement inhibitors are a completely new class of drugs," said Kaminski. "This one will probably prove to be superior to what we've seen. Since complement is activated in many diseases such as Alzheimer's, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis, our studies may be important for other diseases."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Saint Louis University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Saint Louis University. "Protein From Tick Saliva Studied For Potential Myasthenia Gravis Treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326084754.htm>.
Saint Louis University. (2009, April 4). Protein From Tick Saliva Studied For Potential Myasthenia Gravis Treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326084754.htm
Saint Louis University. "Protein From Tick Saliva Studied For Potential Myasthenia Gravis Treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326084754.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. 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:
from the past week

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