UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


GABA neurotransmitter may be progressive MS marker

4 September 2015

A neurotransmitter widely distributed in the brain may be a marker of a progressive multiple sclerosis, according to research led by Professor Olga Ciccarelli, UCL Institute of Neurology, published in Brain.

In this most recent study researchers used magnetic resonance spectroscopy to study brain changes in 30 patients compared to 17 healthy to see if they could identify GABA as a new biomarker of neurodegeneration in patients with secondary progressive MS.

The researchers found that patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis showed reduced GABA levels in the hippocampus and sensorimotor cortex when compared to healthy subjects. The team also found that patients showing lower GABA concentration in the sensorimotor cortex were more clinically impaired in their motor function than those who had a higher concentration of GABA in this area.  

From the results of this study researchers can conclude the targeting of GABA could be beneficial to advance neuroprotective therapies for patients with secondary progressive MS.

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