Experts from Switzerland have found that the harmful function of the immune system, which affects the development of multiple sclerosis, is weakened in cold conditions. Research paper dedicated to the beneficial properties of the common cold Published by In the Journal of Cell Metabolism.
Multiple sclerosis is the most common autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. Myelin destroys the protective “envelope” of neurons that play an important role in signal transmission – the cells of the immune system. This can lead to neurological damage, especially paralysis. “Our body’s defenses against the harsh environment consume energy, and if many are activated, they can be limited by mutual influence,” said Professor Mirko Trajkovsky, a professor at the University of Geneva.
The scientists hypothesized that the addition of such an energy-intensive program could mitigate the immune response and thus reduce the course of multiple sclerosis. To test their theory, they began to reduce the mean ambient temperature of mice using experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, until the analogue of multiple sclerosis in mice reached ten degrees Celsius. “After several days, we saw a clear decrease in the clinical severity of the disease and a decrease in the degree of demyelination in the central nervous system,” said Doron Merkler, a professor at the University of Geneva. When animals keep their body temperature normal, scientists find that the symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders are significantly reduced.
The researchers found that cold reduces the ability of antigen-presenting monocytes to “prescribe” T cells to detect foreign elements. In autoimmune diseases, the antigens of “own” cells are confused with foreign ones. The need to maintain body temperature in the cold drains resources from the immune system, thereby reducing the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Scientists say their research results are relevant not only to neuroinflammation but also to other immune-related diseases.
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