Discovery explains higher multiple sclerosis risk in women

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Last Updated: Aug 9, 2016

The main reason why more women get multiple sclerosis than men is due to a major difference in the brain between the genders, according to a study.

A Washington University School of Medicine scientist found that there are more protein S1PR2 levels in the brains of dead women with MS and female mice compared to their male counterparts.  S1PR2 is a blood vessel receptor protein.

There are four times more women diagnosed with MS compared to men, and experts say this is very interesting.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that has a bad effect on the nerves of the brain and the spinal cord, which results to problems in vision, balance and body movement. This is one of the major causes of disability.

MS occurs when abnormal immune cells infiltrate the nerves in the central nervous system. Though there are treatments for this disease in its early stages, there is no cure for it at present.

Some 85% of MS victims are diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS. This is the type of MS where people experience attacks of the symptoms, but then later on fades away completely or just partially.

Researchers in Missouri looked at this type of MS. They studied the brains and blood vessels of mice with MS, mice with no S1PR2, and healthy mice. This way, they can determine how these factors affect the severity of MS. They also studied the brain tissues of 20 people that died.

They found out that among the mice and the people they studied, there is a high level of S1PR2 in the parts of the brain that are commonly affected by MS.

This is a very important find, because now, scientists have a target for treatment. They now know which part of the brain should be focused on to treat MS.

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