Myelin is the fatty layer that insulates nerve fibres that is believed to the target of attack in MS.
This study shows that a protein that sits on the surface of oligodendrocytes, called the death receptor 6 (DR6), inhibits oligodendrocyte maturation.
If there is too much DR6 on the surface of oligodendrocytes it leads to their death.
Blocking DR6 function enhances oligodendrocyte maturation, survival and myelination in animal models of MS.
Conclusion: These studies reveal a pivotal role for DR6 in oligodendrocyte maturation and myelination and may provide a new therapeutic target for treating MS.
CoI: I have consulted for Biogen-Idec the company who did this research. The consulting was unrelated to this work.