Findings suggest new cause, possible treatment for multiple sclerosis


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Researchers have found evidence that an environmental pollutant may play an important role in causing multiple sclerosis and that a hypertension drug might be used to treat the disease.

The toxin acrolein was elevated by about 60 percent in the spinal cord tissues of mice with a disease similar to multiple sclerosis, said Riyi Shi, a medical doctor and a professor of neuroscience and biomedical engineering in Purdue University's Department of Basic Medical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Center for Paralysis Research and Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering.

The research results represent the first concrete laboratory evidence for a link between acrolein (pronounced a-KRO-le-an) and multiple sclerosis, he said.

"Only recently have researchers started to understand the details about what acrolein does to the human body," Shi said. "We are studying its effects on the central nervous system, both in trauma and degenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis."

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