MS and Sphingomyelin in blood for early detection

As a result of the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS), the myelin sheath of neuronal cells in the brain and spinal cord is degraded, resulting in loss of signal transduction capability. MS patients exhibit upregulation of certain cytokines in the cerebrospinal fluid, particularly tumor necrosis factor alpha. This activates sphingomyelinase, an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of sphingomyelin to ceramide; sphingomyelinase activity has been observed in conjunction with cellular apoptosis.

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