Monday, July 28, 2008

More on worm therapy for MS

A while back, I mentioned that my neurologist was conducting a small study to see if ingesting the eggs of teensy little worm might benefit MS patients. It's been pretty well-documented that such intention infections have immunomodulatory effects, and now a recent study has identified specific effects that hold promise for MS. Snip:
Helminth infections in MS patients created a B-cell population producing high levels of IL-10, dampening harmful immune responses through a mechanism mediated, at least in part, by the ICOS-B7RP-1 pathway. The IL-10-producing B-cell phenotype detected expressed high levels of CD1d and was similar to the one observed in mature naive B2 cells (namely, CD11b(-), CD5(-), CD27(-), and IgD+). Moreover, B cells isolated from helminth-infected MS patients also produced greater amounts of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and nerve growth factor compared with those of normal subjects, T. cruzi-infected subjects, P. brasiliensis-infected subjects, or uninfected MS patients, raising the possibility that these cells may exert a neuroprotective effect on the central nervous system.

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