Blocking a specific enzyme in the brain may assist in repairing brain damage linked to multiple sclerosis (MS) and a variety of other neurological disorders, report researchers based out of the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). The study was led by Larry Sherman, PhD, professor of cell development biology at OHSU, senior scientist in the Division of Neuroscience at the Oregon National Primate Research.

Sherman emphasizes that, “Any kind of therapy that can promote remyelination could be an absolute life-changer for the millions of people suffering from MS and other related disorders.” 

In the recent study, researchers report that by blocking hyaluronidase activity, which contributes to remyelination failure, they were able to promote myelin-forming cell differentiation and remyelination in mice with the MS-like disease. Researchers add that the drug used to block hyaluronidase activity also helped improve nerve cell function.

“If we can block the specific enzyme that is contributing to remyelination failure in the nervous system, it would likely cause few, if any, side effects,” Sherman notes. 

However, he cautions that the discovery may not signify a potential cure for the disease, as many other factors can contribute to the problems linked to MS and other demyelinating diseases. Yet, blocking the enzyme could potentially lead to new ways to promote the repair of brain and spinal cord damage by targeting the enzyme or inhibiting with enzyme in conjunction with other therapies, Sherman says. 

Source: Oregon Health & Science University