When the fatty sheaths that insulate nerve fibers in the brain become damaged, the result is multiple sclerosis (MS). But the cause of this destruction has long baffled researchers. One group now reports that a protein called syncytin might be at fault.
Christopher Power of the University of Calgary in Alberta and his colleagues report in the October Nature Neuroscience that brain tissue collected from MS patients at autopsies harbors about three times as much syncytin as does postmortem brain tissue from people without MS.
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