In MS compromised blood-brain barrier (BBB) function contributes to inflammatory T cell migration into the central nervous system.
An enzyme called matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) is associated with BBB disruption and subsequent T cell migration into the CNS.
MMP-9 breaks down the proteins that keep the BBB intact.
MMP-9 levels correlate well with relapses and MRI activity in MS'ers and is potentially a very useful biomarker of disease activity.
In this study omega-3 fatty acids significantly decreased MMP-9 production, MMP-9 activity, and significantly inhibited human T cell migration.
Epub: Shinto et al. The effects of omega-3 Fatty acids on matrix metalloproteinase-9 production and cell migration in human immune cells: implications for multiple sclerosis. Autoimmune Dis. 2011;2011:134592.
"Why is this study important? It supports the testing of omega-3 essential fatty acids as a treatment in MS. The good news is that an exploratory phase 2 study has been done in Norway and the results should be presented at ECTRIMS."
Clinical trial: Omega-3 Fatty Acid Treatment in Multiple Sclerosis, Haukeland University Hospital
"Inhibition of MMP-9 production and reduced T cell migration across the BBB is one of the ways interferon-beta is thought to work."