Scientists at the University of Edinburgh, UK, have taken a step forward in understanding multiple sclerosis (MS), using zebrafish.
In MS - a condition that can affect the brain and spinal cord – the immune system attacks the protective coating around the nerves called myelin.
During these attacks, some cells that produce myelin – named oligodendrocytes – die, but others may survive and produce new myelin.
Using zebrafish and brain tissue donated from people with MS, the team found, as reported in Nature Neuroscience, that unfortunately these surviving cells produce far less myelin and also send it to the wrong part of the nerve.
"Improving our understanding of what happens after myelin becomes damaged is one of our research priorities, and studies like this take us another step closer to our important goal of stopping MS," said Clare Walton, head of research at the MS Society.