Researchers Were Able to Treat Mice Suffering from Multiple Sclerosis With Cold

In the US about 1 million people are affected by multiple sclerosis, according to The National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Currently, there is no treatment that can cure the disease, but only to relieve patients and improve their quality of life. According to a new study published in the journal Cell Metabolism, cold may be a new treatment option to reduce multiple sclerosis symptoms.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis

Read Also: Multiple Sclerosis Breakthrough: Targeting Microglia in the Brain Could Help Reverse the Disease

Multiple sclerosis: the immune system attacks its own cells

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system and causes the immune system to malfunction. The immune system no longer protects the patient from external attacks and even turns against its own cells, attacking the myelin that surrounds and protects the nerve fibers. This causes damage that prevents the nerve fibers from properly transmitting messages from the brain to the rest of the body and back. Patients with this disease can suffer from various problems, such as motor, sensory, cognitive, etc. In the long term, these problems can develop into irreversible disabilities.

The work is carried out on mice placed in a cold environment

The researchers based their work on the so-called “life-history theory” which assumes that the organism only focuses on growth and reproduction when the environment is favorable. If the environment is not favorable, the organism abandons its primary functions because all its energy resources are reserved for defense against external attacks.

Read Also: Swiss Study Finds Link Between Multiple Sclerosis and the Intestinal Flora

In multiple sclerosis, the immune system is defective. The researchers, therefore, conducted experiments on mice to see if exposure to cold – an unfavorable environment – caused their bodies to divert their energy resources from the immune system to maintain body heat. To do this, they gradually put mice suffering from a type of human multiple sclerosis into a cold 10-degree Celsius environment.

Improving MS symptoms thanks to cold

“After a few days, we observed a clear improvement in the clinical severity of the disease and the extent of demyelination of the central nervous system,” explains Doron Merkler, one of the study’s authors. The mice had no problems maintaining their body temperature at a normal level, but the symptoms of movement disorders decreased dramatically, going from an inability to walk on their hind legs to a slight paralysis of the tail.

Read Also: Ofatumumab: A Promising Treatment for the Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

In low temperatures, the immune system no longer attacks the myelin that surrounds and protects the nerve fibers, and patients, therefore, have fewer symptoms of the disease. As the body is forced to increase its metabolism to maintain its heat, it no longer has resources for other actions, especially those that are harmful in multiple sclerosis. Cold, therefore, leads to a decrease in harmful immune cells and improves the symptoms of the disease.

However, the authors note that exposure to cold increases susceptibility to certain infections. Before they consider a clinical application of this finding, they will continue their research. The ultimate goal is for patients to benefit from the cold without the harmful effects.

Read Also: Autologous Bone Marrow Transplantation and Metformin, a Hope for the Cure of Multiple Sclerosis

References

Cold exposure protects from neuroinflammation through immunologic reprogramming

How Many People Live with MS?

FEEDBACK:

Conversation

Want to Stay Informed?

Join the Gilmore Health News Newsletter!

Want to live your best life?

Get the Gilmore Health Weekly newsletter for health tips, wellness updates and more.

By clicking "Subscribe," I agree to the Gilmore Health and . I also agree to receive emails from Gilmore Health and I understand that I may opt out of Gilmore Health subscriptions at any time.