XML Feed for RxPG News   Add RxPG News Headlines to My Yahoo!   Javascript Syndication for RxPG News

Research Health World General
 Asian Health
 Food & Nutrition
 Men's Health
 Mental Health
 Occupational Health
 Public Health
 Sleep Hygiene
 Women's Health
 Canada Healthcare
 China Healthcare
 India Healthcare
 New Zealand
 South Africa
 World Healthcare
   Latest Research
 Alternative Medicine
 Clinical Trials
 Infectious Diseases
  Brain Diseases
  Demyelinating Diseases
   Multiple Sclerosis
  Neurodegenerative Diseases
  Spinal Cord Diseases
  Trigeminal Neuralgia
 Sports Medicine
   Medical News
 Awards & Prizes
   Special Topics
 Odd Medical News

Last Updated: Nov 18, 2006 - 1:55:25 PM

Multiple Sclerosis Channel
subscribe to Multiple Sclerosis newsletter

Latest Research : Neurosciences : Demyelinating Diseases : Multiple Sclerosis

   DISCUSS   |   EMAIL   |   PRINT
Aquaporin-4 implicated in a form of multiple sclerosis
Sep 22, 2005 - 4:59:00 AM, Reviewed by: Dr.

"Aquaporin-4 is the first specific molecule to be defined as a target for the autoimmune response in any form of MS. It is also the first example of a water channel being the target of any autoimmune disorder."

Researchers have identified a molecular suspect in a disorder similar to multiple sclerosis (MS) that attacks the optic nerve and spinal cord, according to a report presented at the 130th annual meeting of the American Neurological Association in San Diego. The protein, called aquaporin-4, is a channel protein that allows water to move in and out of cells.

"Aquaporin-4 is the first specific molecule to be defined as a target for the autoimmune response in any form of MS," said author Vanda A. Lennon, MD, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "It is also the first example of a water channel being the target of any autoimmune disorder."

Because there are many other variants of aquaporins throughout the body, Lennon suggests that these proteins might play a role in poorly understood autoimmune disorders in other organ systems.

For some time, scientists have understood that multiple sclerosis is not so much a single disease, but a category of disorders with similar damage to different parts of the nervous system. Recently, progress has been made in teasing out a particular syndrome called neuromyelitis optica (NMO), in which the body mistakenly mounts an immune attack against the optic nerve and spinal cord.

Last year, Lennon and her colleagues at Mayo, along with collaborators in Japan, were able to detect a particular antibody that occurrs in most people with NMO, but not in patients with "classical" MS.

This is particularly important for clinicians because specific treatment recommendations to help prevent blindness and other later symptoms, including paralysis, differ for NMO and MS .

In the present study, Lennon and colleagues have identified an aquaporin as the target molecule of the NMO antibody. "This finding is a departure from mainstream thinking about MS and related disorders, where the major focus of research in the past century has been the myelin that insulates nerve fibers, and the cell that manufactures myelin, known as the oligodendrocyte," said Lennon.

The Mayo Clinic group's work reveals that the protein targeted by the NMO antibody is not a component of myelin, or of oligodendrocytes. Aquaporin-4, which is the most abundant water channel in the brain, is instead located in a different type of cell called astrocytes.

"Aquaporin-4 is concentrated in membranes in the precise site where spinal cord inflammation is found in NMO patients," said Lennon.

The next step in this research is to use this knowledge to create an animal model that can be used to confirm the relationhip between aquaporin-4 and NMO, as well as to develop new and improved therapies.

- Autoantibody Marker of Neuromyelitis Optica Binds to the Aquaporin-4 Water Channel; Vanda A. Lennon MD, PhD, Thomas J. Kryzer, Sean J. Pittock, A.S. Verkman, Shannon R. Hinson, Rochester MN


Subscribe to Multiple Sclerosis Newsletter
E-mail Address:


Related Multiple Sclerosis News
Smoking associated with rapid progression of multiple sclerosis
Testosterone may help men with multiple sclerosis
Age of onset but not severity of Multiple Sclerosis inherited from parents
Cause of nerve fiber damage in multiple sclerosis identified
Fampridine may hold promise for treating Multiple Sclerosis
CNS can send out signals to invite autoimmune attacks
Natalizumab Re-approved for Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis
Efficacy in relapse rate reduction beyond five years shown for interferon beta 1b in Multiple Sclerosis
Systematic Review Questions Accuracy of MRI in Multiple Sclerosis
Statins could prove useful in treating MS

For any corrections of factual information, to contact the editors or to send any medical news or health news press releases, use feedback form

Top of Page


© Copyright 2004 onwards by RxPG Medical Solutions Private Limited
Contact Us