(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have found that a specific protein in cow’s milk can activate the same immune cells that damage neurons in multiple sclerosis.
For a long time, this mysterious connection was incomprehensible to scientists, but now it has finally become clear why milk increases the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
For decades, people with multiple sclerosis have assumed that dairy products can make their symptoms worse. For a long time, scientists could not understand the nature of this relationship, but it was visible to doctors and it was impossible to ignore it.
The first step in the new study, which elucidated the mechanism of this link, was to identify a specific component in milk that may increase the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. In a series of experiments on mice, researchers found that casein is the main culprit.
But what researchers were most interested in was how this particular milk protein might cause neuronal damage associated with multiple sclerosis.
Why milk exacerbates multiple sclerosis
Their hypothesis was that casein causes a misdirected immune response. This meant that casein had to resemble the same antigens that cause immune cells to mistarget healthy brain cells.
Then the authors compared casein with various molecules that are important for the production of myelin, a protein that envelops nerve fibers and provides better conduction of electrical impulses between neurons.
The hypothesis was confirmed: casein antibodies really accumulated in the brain cells responsible for the production of myelin. In addition, the researchers found that immune B cells taken from patients with multiple sclerosis are particularly sensitive to casein.
The scientists ultimately concluded that the link between dairy consumption and MS symptoms is due to the casein in milk triggering immune antibodies. These immune cells mistakenly attack certain brain cells due to the similarity of the MAG protein to casein.
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