Fight multiple sclerosis with a cold

Demyelinating spinal cord in mice suffering from autoimmune disease. The top is at room temperature and the bottom is exposed to the cold. Myelin is colored blue. Purple staining in the white matter (the part towards the edge of the tissue section) shows diminished demyelinating lesions in the image below. Credits: © UNIGE-Laboratoires Trajkovski & Merkler / Cell Metabolism

In evolutionary biology, the “life history theory” first proposed in the 1950s assumes that in good conditions, the resources used by all living things are devoted to growth and reproduction. Conversely, in a hostile environment, resources are transferred to so-called maintenance programs, such as saving energy and defending against external attacks. Scientists at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) have developed this idea into a particular medical discipline, the false activation of the immune system that causes autoimmune diseases.

By studying mice suffering from a model of multiple sclerosis, the team succeeded in deciphering how organisms divert their resources from the immune system toward maintaining body temperature when exposed to the cold. bottom. Indeed, during the cold, the immune system reduced its harmful activity, which significantly slowed the course of autoimmune disease.These results are highlighted on the cover of the journal Cell metabolism, Pave the way for basic biological concepts regarding the allocation of energy resources.

Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system attacks the body’s own organs.For example, type 1 diabetes is caused by the false destruction of insulin production. Pancreatic cells.. Multiple sclerosis is the most common autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (consisting of the brain and spinal cord). The disease is a protective insulator for nerve cells and is characterized by the destruction of myelin, which is important for the accurate and fast transmission of electrical signals. Therefore, its destruction leads to neuropathy, including paralysis.

“Our body’s defenses against hostile environments are energetically expensive and can be constrained by trade-offs when some of them are activated. Therefore, organisms depend on their survival value. We need to prioritize resource allocation to different defense programs. ” Mirko Trikovsky, professor of cell physiology and metabolism, and the Diabetes Center of the University School of Medicine, and lead author of the study. “This is of particular interest to autoimmunity, and we hypothesized that the introduction of additional energy-cost programs could moderate the immune response and disease outcomes. In other words, the immune system works. Is it possible to divert the energy consumed by the body when it is gone? “

Dramatic reduction of symptoms

To test their hypothesis, scientists have found that mice suffering from experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (a model of human multiple sclerosis) are relatively cold after an acclimatization period in which the environmental temperature is gradually lowered. I put it in the living environment (about 10 degrees Celsius). “A few days later, not only the degree of demyelination observed in the central nervous system, but also a clear improvement in the clinical severity of the disease was observed,” explains Delon Markler, a professor at the Department of Pathology and Immunology and the Center. To do. Co-corresponding author for and work on inflammation research at the University of Geneva School of Medicine. “The animals had no difficulty maintaining body temperature at normal levels, but the symptoms of movement disorders were dramatically reduced, especially from the inability to walk on their hind paws to slight paralysis of the tail. bottom.”

The immune response is based, among other things, on the ability of so-called antigen-presenting monocytes to direct T cells how to recognize “non-self” elements that must be fought. However, in autoimmune diseases, “self” antigens are confused with “non-self” antigens.

“Cold has been shown to regulate the activity of inflammatory monocytes by reducing their ability to present antigens and reduce the activation of T cells, a cell type that plays an important role in autoimmunity,” says Mirko Trajkovski. Explains.By increasing its metabolism in the body to maintain Body temperature, Cold robs resources Immune system.. This leads to a decrease in harmful immune cells and thus improves the symptoms of the disease.

“While the concept of prioritizing fever generation over immune response clearly prevents autoimmunity, it is worth noting that cold exposure increases susceptibility to certain infections. Therefore, our study is neurological. In addition to inflammation, other immune-mediated or infectious diseases that require further investigation, “adds Mirko Trikovsky.

Increasing autoimmune diseases

The improvement in living conditions in Western countries over the last few decades has been Autoimmune disease.. “This increase is arguably multifactorial, but the fact that we have abundant energy resources at our disposal may play an important but not yet well-understood role in the development of autoimmune diseases. There is, “Dron Markler concludes.

Researchers will pursue their research to better understand whether their findings can be developed in clinical applications.

Cellular autolysis process causes autoimmune disease

For more information:
Mirko Trajkovski, Cold Exposure Protects From Neuroinflammation Through Immunological Reprogramming, Cell metabolism (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.cmet.2021.10.002..… 1550-4131 (21) 00480-0

Quote: Fight multiple sclerosis in the cold (October 22, 2021) October 22, 2021

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Fight multiple sclerosis with a cold

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