Current effective treatments for relapsing MS work by stopping the white blood cells entering the brain. These (Alemtuzumab, Rituzimab, Cladribine, Bone marrow transplantation, beta interferon) do not appear to stop the non-relapsing aspects of progressive MS.
Therefore we need a new approach to treat progressive MS, because the main problem appears to not be with the white blood cells (although I think that these need to be dealt with also) but appears to be a problem with the nerves, that has been triggered by the damage caused by white blood cells.
Nerves transmit nerve impulses
(tube trains) see videos in British
English to Explain) from one nerve to another across a synapse
(interchange. see video
). Transmission of the nerve impulse uses energy to transmit the impulse, which results from movement of ions largely sodium
(Na) (Black passengers) and potassium
. (K) (red passengers) Sodium enters the cell by sodium channels (pores that allow sodium to flow through them) in the nerve. Once the impulse passes the nerve resets itself so that it can transmit the next signal. Within the nerve there is a exchanger
(imagine a revolving door). The system pumps calcium
(Ca) out of the cell in exchange for sodium. This all helps maintains the health of the cell and te balance of sodium within the cell The myelin
sheath made by oligodendrocytes allows the nerve impulse to travel faster. This is because the nerve impulse jumps acrossto the gaps (stations. Nodes of Ranvier
) between individual myelin sheaths. (There are lots of videos/tutorials on youtube those by khanacademy.org
are informative. (If you watch these- a schwannn celll myelinates peripheral nerves and those in the brain are myelinated by oligodendrocytes but otherwise the message applies to the brain)