John Dirk Nieland, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Health Science and Technology at Aalborg University in Denmark, discusses his research team's connection between MS and lipid metabolism, the importance of condition-inflicted models, and the encompassing nature of treating MS.
John Dirk Nieland, PhD, is part of the Danish research team that uncovered a connection between lipid metabolism disorder and multiple sclerosis (MS).
At the annual Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers in New Orleans, Nieland — an associate professor in the Department of Health Science and Technology at Aalborg University — presented this almost-accidental discovery, and proceeding trials with lipid metabolism blockers used on animal models inflicted with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE).
According to their research, when a key molecule in lipid catabolism was blocked, the lipid metabolism was reversed to glucose metabolism, and caused a repair of myelin sheaths, re-lipidation of myelin sheath proteins for immunity system shielding, and the restoration of signaling capacity of receptors using lipids. The end-result was reported increases in neuronal function rates in animal models, and evidence for phase II trials to begin.
Though Nieland and his team were able to draw a line between lipid metabolism and MS — among other neurological diseases — as well as evidence of neuronal function rates improving with lipid metabolism blockers, Nieland rejects the notion this is the end-all, be-all of MS research and treatment.
"I don't say just the lipid metabolism shift can give you the disease," Nieland said. "Something can give you an inducing part, then the lipid metabolism comes on top and drives the disease forward."
In the video above, Nieland explains why simply calling MS an autoimmune or inflammatory disease is missing the point, in what is a comprehensive condition that requires comprehensive solutions.