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Ancient Virus Protein Linked to Multiple Sclerosis

Syncytin, a virus protein that has been around for millions of years, may play a role in the nerve damage that occurs with multiple sclerosis (MS), scientists report in the journal Nature Neuroscience. This finding could lead to new treatments for the devastating neurologic disease.

Syncytin "can activate immune mechanisms, which can ultimately damage cells that make myelin," an important nerve covering that gradually disappears in patients with MS, senior author Dr. Christopher Power, at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, told Reuters Health.

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September 28, 2004 in research | Permalink