What is the biological cause of fatigue in MS?


Lead researcher: Dr Don Mahad

Based at: University of Edinburgh

MS Society funding: £134,177

Status: Active

About the project

Most people living with MS experience fatigue, but we don’t really know what causes it.

In MS, when nerve cells don’t have enough energy, it’s because their own battery packs, called mitochondria, have stopped working properly.

Previous studies in in mice have shown that the connections between nerve cells are damaged when there isn’t enough energy in the cell. And it’s thought that this damage could cause the symptom of fatigue.

Don’s team will look at nerve damage in mice and post-mortem human brain tissue to understand more about what happens to nerve connections when there is an MS-related energy problem. They’ll also study how it relates to physical fatigue The team will then investigate whether drugs can prevent the connections between nerves from being damaged, and if this can reduce levels of fatigue.

How will it help people with MS?

This project will increase our understanding of what goes wrong in cells in MS and help identify new ways to develop treatments for fatigue.

The difference you can make

We want everyone with MS to have access to the treatments they need to live well with MS. With your help, we can continue to support vital research like this.

The next research breakthrough is in reach

Your donation will help stop MS.

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£30could process one blood sample, giving researchers crucial information about genes and the immune system.

£50could pay for an hour on a microscope, so scientists can study cells and tissue in greater detail and improve their understanding of the biology of MS.

£100could pay for half an hour of MRI use, so researchers can monitor the success of clinical trials and understand MS in more detail.

Every penny you give really does take us a step closer to stopping MS. Your donation will make a difference.

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£10a month could pay for lab equipment like microscope slides to study the building blocks of MS

£20a month could pay for lab equipment like petri dishes to grow bacteria important for studying genetics

£30a month could process a blood sample to help us understand what causes MS, so we can stop it in its tracks

Your regular donation means we can keep funding world class MS research with confidence. Together we will stop MS.

MS researcher at work in lab, using a pipette