Comparison of primate models of MS

16 Jan 2018 | Back to News, Publications and Annual Reports

Damage to rhesus macaque's brain similar to damage observed in MS patients' brains

We have discovered that toxic oxygen may cause a great deal of damage to a rhesus macaque's brain. To some extent, the way in which these types of oxygen are released differs from the way in which they are released in humans and in marmosets. However, the damage they cause is equally severe.

To this day, our studies designed to formulate therapies for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are absolutely dependent on animal models, which help us predict whether a particular experimental therapy may be effective in humans.

What we knew before

Thanks to our research, we are increasingly knowledgeable about the processes that play an important role in the development of MS. Some processes that contribute to MS in a significant degree have been shown not to exist in the same way in rodent models, e.g. rats and mice. We now wish to answer the question as to whether these types of damaging processes in monkeys are more similar to those observed in humans. If so, we will have a way to test therapies designed to stop these damaging processes from taking place.

BPRC researchers previously showed that toxic types of oxygen may have harmful effects on the brains of marmoset models of MS. This process is very similar to what happens in the brains of MS patients. BPRC researchers have now examined whether this same mechanism can be observed in another important animal model of MS, i.e., the rhesus macaque.

Our recent findings

The MS-like symptoms observed in rhesus macaques have a different cause than MS symptoms in humans. After all, the disease was artificially induced, and involves different types of cells. However, it does result in the same type of brain damage. Since rhesus macaques are so susceptible to toxic oxygen, they may serve us very well in the development of therapies designed to undo this type of brain damage. It is therefore very likely that a therapy against toxic oxygen which proves effective in rhesus macaques may be effective in human MS patients, as well.

Wish to find out more about this study?

Read this article published in an academic journal