Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Immune cells in ALS patients can predict the course of the disease

Solmaz Yazdani, PhD student at KI.
Photo Credit: Filip Mestanov

ALS is a disease in which nerve cells in the brain, brain stem and spinal cord die. 

By measuring immune cells in the spinal cord fluid when diagnosing ALS, it is possible to predict how the course of the disease will go, according to a study from the Karolinska Institutet published in Nature Communications.

The study shows that a high proportion of so-called effector T cells are associated with a low survival rate. At the same time, the study shows that a high proportion of activated regulatory T cells are protective against the disease. The findings provide new evidence of T-cell involvement in the course of the disease and show that certain types of effector T cells accumulate in the spinal cord fluid in ALS patients.

The study can contribute to the development of new treatments that target immune cells to slow down the course of the disease, say Solmaz Yazdani, doctoral student at Institute of Environmental Medicine at Karolinska Institutet and first author of the study.

The next step in her research is to study how T cells contribute to the course of the disease.

We have plans to collect samples from these individuals to study changes in immune cells over time. In addition, we want to study the effector T cells in more detail to understand their role in ALS.

The study was funded by the Ulla-Carin Lindquist Foundation for ALS Research, Neuro, King Gustaf V's and Queen Victoria's Freemasonry Foundation, and others.

Source/Credit: Karolinska Institutet