Neuregulin-1 beta 1: A Potential Early Disease Marker and Targeted Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

New findings from Dr. Soheila Karimi’s research group at the University of Manitoba provide compelling evidence for the involvement of Neuregulin-1 beta 1 (Nrg-1β1) in MS pathology. Nrg-1β1 is a critical protein for neural cells and myelin in the central nervous system. Dr. Karimi’s research team has discovered reduced levels of Nrg-1β1 protein in demyelinating lesions and plasma of mice with MS-like disease (i.e. experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis or EAE mice). They further confirmed a decline in Nrg-1β1 in individuals with early MS (clinically isolated syndrome) and is associated with subsequent progression to relapsing-remitting MS. Interestingly, by providing Nrg-1β1 as a therapy, it was able to delay disease onset and alleviate disease progression and neurological impairment in EAE mice.

These findings suggest a novel role for Nrg-1β1 to pose as an early disease marker for MS as well as a promising targeted therapy to improve MS progression and disease severity. Nrg-1β1 is a drug already approved by the US FDA and could be utilized in MS therapy if proven effective for MS. Dr. Karimi’s team is currently evaluating the potential of Nrg-1β1 therapy in promoting myelin repair in progressive stage of EAE.

This study was led by Dr. Hardeep Kataria, a research associate in Dr. Karimi’s laboratory, and was recently published in the Brain Journallink. The study was also featured by the University of Manitoba News (UM Today), CTV News Winnipeg, and Winnipeg Free press.

To learn more about this new and exciting research, please refer to the following video.