Comparable processes in the brains of a MS marmoset model and MS patients

29 May 2017

BPRC - 1. Comparable  processes in the brains of a MS marmoset model and MS patients

In the search for therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS), animal models are still needed. However, new therapies that target specific processes can only be tested in animal models if these processes are comparable between patients and the animal model.

MS is caused by damage to the insulation layer around the nerve. In this process, iron molecules are released which cause further damage to the brain because they increase the presence of toxic forms of oxygen (radicals). In rodent models of MS, these processes differ from that in MS patients and, and thus, new therapies that counteract these processes can not be studied in rats or mice.

Marmosets are more related to humans and are already used as animal model for MS. BPRC researchers have now investigated whether the same processes with respect to iron degradation occur in these monkeys as in humans.

They found a disturbed localization of iron in the brain tissue of animals in which MS-like phenomena were induced which was comparable tot hat found in patients. In the marmoset, this aberrant iron localization was closely associated with the disease symptoms that occurred in these animals. This also applies to other proteins involved in the disturbed balance of oxygen forms.

These results, published in Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology (, provide new opportunities to evaluate MS therapies against the processes described above.