Expert Linda Watkins This piece of investigation stores some good news for patients suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS). A recent research asserts that single injection of the ATL313 compound can treat chronic pain and halt the progression of MS. In this inflammatory disease, the body’s immune system possibly attacks a protective sheath known as myelin that comprises nerves in the spinal cord and brain.

As the disease progresses, myelin presumably develops lesions or scars leading to lifetime neurological problems. Currently available MS medications may decline or block the progression, but fails to treat it. In this research, spinal cord and brain-imaging technology was employed for ascertaining whether rats receiving an ATL313 injection are treated of lesions. It was believed that this class of compounds calm down glial cells in the spinal cord due to their pro-inflammatory activation.

“What’s become evident is that glial cells have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. Under normal circumstances they do all these really good things for the neurons, but when they shift into the Mr. Hyde formation they release a whole host of chemicals that cause problems like neuropathic pain and other chronic pain conditions,” said Lisa Loram, a senior research associate in Watkins’ laboratory.

Normally, glial cells seem to be like housekeepers in the nervous system cleaning up debris and being a support for neurons. During the investigations it was noted that glial cells in the central nervous system may also acts as hallmarks in pain improvement. These cells supposedly excite neurons known to transmit pain signals. ATL313 apparently reset the glial cells from an angry activated state to a calm anti-inflammatory state that can heal MS lesions.

The research was presented at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting held in San Diego.