Multiple SclerosisMembers: Alessia Dolcetti, Alanna Bridgman, Demi Wang, Bardia Nouriziabari, Jeremy Ho

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative, inflammatory disease that affects approximately 2.5 million people worldwide1. It is caused by an autoimmune response that promotes demyelination of axons in the central nervous system (CNS)2. Damage to myelin, the fatty coating that surrounds axons, disrupts signal transduction between neurons. Affected individuals may develop a range of neurological problems, including muscular dysfunction,visual impairment, and cognitive disability. The specific triggers of autoimmunity are unknown, although viral infection and Vitamin D deficiency are thought to be involved. Various lesions occur in the brain, allowing lymphocytes to enter the CNS and cause axon demyelination. As there is currently no cure for multiple sclerosis, therapies aim to reduce the severity of symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.

1. Theories of Origin and Risk Factors (A. Dolcetti)
a. Associated genes
b. Viral infection
c. Vitamin D deficiency
d. Smoking
e. Demographic factors (sex, ethnicity)

2. Pathophysiology of Multiple Sclerosis (A. Bridgman)

a. Prodromal lesions to the brain
b. Infiltration of lymphocytes through the CNS
c. Autoimmune response and demyelination

3. Clinical Symptoms and Diagnosis (D. Wang)

a. Symptoms
b. Diagnosis
c. Potential biomarkers

4. Multiple Sclerosis Modifying Treatments (B. Nouriziabari)
a. Treatment for attacks
b. Treatment for prevention of relapses
c. Treatment for symptoms

5. Alternative Therapies (J. Ho)
a. Stem cell therapy - guide mesenchymal cells to differentiate into neuro/immuno modulators
b. Down-regulate Semaphorin 3A to inhibit oligodendrocyte differentiation
c. Inhibit chemokines responsible for immune cell trafficking
d. Promote remyelination and regeneration of CNS neurons


References
1. Yossan-Var T, Waschek JA. Targeting VIP and PACAP receptor signalling: new therapeutic strategies in multiple sclerosis. Assn Neuro (2011) 3(4):195-212.
2. Compston A, Coles A. Multiple sclerosis. Lancet (2008) 372:1502-17.