A new Mayo Clinic study found that two particular enzymes were elevated in patients with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). The levels of these enzymes also were associated with the patients’ levels of disability. This gives researchers new hope in developing a therapy for patients with progressive MS.
To help distinguish between the types of MS and identify a therapeutic target for progressive MS, a team of Mayo Clinic researchers studied five different Kallikreins, or secreted enzymes, in patients with MS. The team tested the level of each Kallikrein in the blood of 35 patients with MS and 62 healthy patients. They found that Kallikrein 1 and Kallikrein 6 were significantly elevated in patients with progressive MS. Additionally, the higher the level of Kallikrein 1, the higher the patient’s expanded disability status score. The Mayo Clinic team also looked at the effects of these enzymes on neurons isolated from the brains of mice and found that both Kallikrein 1 and Kallikrein 6 caused significant loss of neurons and injury to axons.
“We will continue to study how Kallikrein 1 and Kallikrein 6, either separately or together, play roles in neuron injury and how it occurs in patients with progressive MS,” says Isobel Scarisbrick, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic neuroscientist and a lead author of this study. “Eventually, we hope to determine a way to target these enzymes with therapies that will benefit patients with progressive MS.”
This study was funded by a grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation. It was presented at the American Neurological Association annual meeting in Salt Lake City, on Sept. 23, 2008.