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The Callicam
Current Common Marmoset Research

Current Research - Page 4

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II. Toxicology Research (cont.)

B) Immunological Research (cont.)

  1. Multiple Sclerosis research
  • Multiple sclerosis is caused by destruction of nerve coverings and leads to the disruption of nerve ability to communicate with parts of the body.
  • Multiple sclerosis can lead to a difficulty moving, speaking, and breathing.
  • While models to study multiple sclerosis in the marmoset have been developed, the mechanisms causing the disease are still unknown.

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects approximately 200,000 to 350,000 people in the United States and can result in difficulty moving, speaking, and breathing. MS is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS = brain and spinal cord). MS results from the destruction of the covering surrounding the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. The covering of the nerves is what allows them to rapidly transmit signals to other body parts and facilitate movement. These damaged nerve cells form patches throughout the brain and spinal cord and interfere with the nerve's ability to function quickly. This dramatic slowing down of the nerve cells causes the observed MS symptoms.

Unfortunately for patients, the cause of the disease is unknown. Researchers, however, have developed an artificial form of MS in common marmosets called experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE). EAE is produced in marmosets by actively immunizing monkeys against human brain tissue. The immunized marmosets display similar signs and symptoms to those seen in human MS, such as difficulty in moving. In addition, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which obtains an internal picture of the brain and other organs, is administered to monitor the effects of EAE on the brain. These observations are necessary to show that EAE in marmosets is similar to MS in humans. Since EAE provides researchers with a way to study MS, perhaps a cure for MS will soon be found.

Further Reading:

Genain, C. P., Hauser, S. L. (1997). Creation of a Model for Multiple Sclerosis in Callithrix jacchus Marmosets. Journal of Molecular Medicine, 75, 187-197.

't Hart, B. A., Van Meurs, M., Brok, H. P., Massacesi, L., Bauer, J., Boon, L., Bontrop, R. E., & Laman, J. D. (2000). A New Primate Model forMultiple Sclerosis in the Common Marmoset. Immunology Today, 21(6), 290-7.

Additional Related Links:

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association. http://www.aarda.org/index.html

Multiple Sclerosis Society: http://www.mssociety.org.uk

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: http://www.ninds.nih.gov

National Multiple Sclerosis Society: http://www.nmss.org

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Text by Rebecca Dallwig.