that could have implications for the treatment of
multiple sclerosis (MS), researchers have found
similarities between the aberrant immune reactions
that trigger the degenerative disease and those
behind one type of diabetes.
Insulin-dependent diabetes can be triggered
when the immune system attacks healthy
insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, and MS is
caused by a similar "autoimmune" reaction that
attacks myelin, which insulates nerve cells.
Besides targeting myelin, immune system cells
from MS patients frequently attacked molecules
associated with diabetes. They based their
findings on an analysis of 38 patients with MS, 54
newly diagnosed children with diabetes and 105 of
their relatives, and 34 healthy controls.
Similarly, the immune cells from about
two-thirds of diabetes patients and their close
relatives at high risk of developing diabetes also
targeted at least one MS-associated molecule.
Thus autoimmunity in diabetes and MS targets a
similar set of self-proteins, with neither disease
nor tissue selectivity.
A major, multi-center initiative with several
US centers to seek out evidence for pre-MS is