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Genes Controlling Nerve Conduction Velocity Linked To Multiple Sclerosis

Update Date: Aug 13, 2014 11:01 AM EDT

Researchers have identified a novel gene that controls nerve induction velocity, according to a new study. 

The study reported that even minor reductions in conduction velocity may aggravate disease in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and in mice bred for the MS-like condition experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE).

A strong tool for investigating the pathophysiology of a complex disease is the identification of underlying genetic controls, the press release said. 

"Impairment of nerve conduction is a common feature in neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases such as MS. Measurement of evoked potentials (whether visual, motor, or sensory) is widely used for diagnosis and recently also as a prognostic marker for MS," said lead investigator Saleh M. Ibrahim, MD, PhD, of the Department of Dermatology, Venereology, and Allergology of the University of Lubeck (Germany), in the press release. 

"This study represents an interesting example of how minor changes in conduction velocity, which do not result in a clinical phenotype in control populations, may aggravate disease in conditions such as EAE or MS," noted Hans Lassmann, MD, of the Center for Brain Research of the Medical University of Vienna (Austria) in an accompanying commentary. 

The study has been published in The American Journal of Pathology. 

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