Sodium plays a number of key roles in the body. The sodium levels in our brain are very tightly regulated. But in MS the levels can be elevated. And this increase in sodium is connected to higher levels of disability and progressive forms of MS.
People with MS have a higher risk of heart and blood vessel conditions compared to people that don’t have MS. But we don’t yet know what risk factors contribute to someone with MS being more likely to have these conditions.
People with MS who become pregnant sometimes experience fewer relapses, and researchers don’t yet understand why. By understanding how pregnancy can sometimes lead to a reduction in relapses for people with MS, researchers can better understand why an immune attack happens.
In MS, some immune cells mistakenly attack myelin around nerve cells, which causes inflammation and leaves nerves vulnerable to damage. But, some immune cells are involved in decreasing inflammation and some in myelin repair. New treatments could encourage these beneficial cells, but we need to understand much more about the process involved.
Women with MS who become pregnant may be advised to stop taking some disease modifying therapies (DMTs). Because we don’t yet know exactly what the impact is of all DMTs on babies in the womb. So it’s important we carry out research to understand which medications are more or less likely to cause problems.
EBV infection isn't enough to cause MS on its own. But researchers think it’s an important factor increasing your risk of developing MS. The main aims of this project are to discover how EBV could trigger MS and how EBV infection is different in people with MS.
In MS, myelin is damaged which leads to nerve cell loss. This damage and loss cause the symptoms of MS. But this process is slower with age and in MS. This project aims to better understand myelin repair and to discover new ways to stimulate it.
As part of its natural defence system, the body can add special tags to infections or unhealthy cells. These tags tell certain immune cells to destroy what is tagged. This project will look at how the special tags affect the immune cells in MS.
In MS, cells of the immune system cause damage in the brain. Some brain cells called astrocytes are able to stop damage going further, if they receive special messages from immune cells. This project will aim to better understand one particularly important message the astrocytes are receiving in progressive MS.