Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive, chronic central nervous system (CNS) inflammatory demyelinating disease. It is the most common neurological disease in middle-aged adults, striking three times more women than men with diagnosis peaking at around 30
years of age, thus affecting people in their most productive years. It has a lifelong impact and its prevalence is increasing steadily over time. Investment in research that would delay or ideally prevent the progression could bring substantial rewards in terms of both reducing
the financial burden and increasing quality of life. The disease is thought to result from an inflammatory attack against myelin, which is produced by specialised glial cells in the CNS known as oligodendrocytes, and their death are commonly observed elements in
MS lesions. As a result, the efficient transmission of neuronal signals is disrupted, causing nervous system dysfunction. Once the disease presents, the condition is permanent and degenerative. An endogenous repair process often follows the death of these glial cells, which is effected by surviving oligodendrocytes in the lesion area and complemented by the recruitment of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs). This repair process is variable, but can result in the return to relatively normal CNS function.
Last date updated on July, 2014