Protein that protects against inflammation low in people with multiple sclerosis
ApoA1, a protein found in good cholesterol (HDL) may help protect against the effects of multiple sclerosis, according to new research.
In the research, people with MS had much lower levels of the protein, which protects the body against inflammation, than healthy people, says study researcher Lidia Gardner, Ph.D., an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Those with more severe forms of MS, known as progressive, had even lower levels of the protein than those with the milder relapsing-remitting form of MS.
In MS patients, inflammation occurs when the body’s immune system attacks cells of the brain, optic nerve and spinal cord.
In Gardner’s study, researchers took blood samples from four groups, including a group without MS and a group for each of the three forms of MS. All the MS patients had lower levels of ApoA1 than the people without the disease. The research is still preliminary and Gardner says she plans to focus next on the process of making and then increasing ApoA1.
Until more research is done, Gardner suggests people with MS make lifestyle changes, such as eating a vegetarian, vegan or low-fat diet to help boost levels of the HDL protein.