A study reveals how the hormone protects against the damage done by multiple sclerosis to the central nervous system. One conclusion is that estrogen can fight multiple sclerosis.
After a long study, researchers found that estrogen had positive effects on immune cells in the brain and on nerve cell support cells, called oligodendrocytes. Complementary actions on these two types offer protection against diseases.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic autoimmune disease responsible for various deficits. These appear when inflammatory immune cells destroy the myelin sheath that surrounds the nerve fibers of neurons, the axons. The loss of this protective insulation disrupts the electrical communication between the nerve cells. But the 3e trimester of pregnancy, which is the one where there is the most estrogen in the body is also the one where the relapse of MS is reduced by 70%.
Estrogens in preparation
The researchers therefore set up an experimental model to demonstrate the favorable role of estrogens // academic.oup.com / brain / article / 141/1/132/4710057.
They have genetically eliminated estrogen receptors, either in immune cells of the brain or in mouse oligodendrocytes. They then treated mice with or without estrogen receptors on their cells to estimate the efficacy of estrogens in terms of disease protection.
The results showed that estrogen treatment works on both immune cells in the brain and oligodendrocytes, resulting in myelin repair and decreased disability.
The research team is currently developing a next generation estrogen-like compound with robust biochemical effects on oligodendrocytes and brain immune cells.