A new study carried out at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), in Switzerland , has confirmed that cold could alleviate the symptoms of multiple sclerosis by depriving the immune system of its energy.
Multiple sclerosis is the common master of science autoimmune disease of the main nervous system (made up of the brain with the spinal cord). The disease is characterized by the destruction of myelin, which is a protective insulation of nerve cells with is important for the correct with rapid transmission of electrical signals. Its destruction causes a neurological disability, including paralysis.
The journal Cell Metabolic process explains how scientists have applied the wrong activation of the immune system that causes the autoimmune diseases to show that cold is an ally for the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
In evolutionary biology, the Theory about The History of Life, first proposed about the decade on 1950, postulates that when the environment is favorable, Resources used by any organism are dedicated to growth with reproduction.
On the contrary, on a hostile environment, resources are transferred to the so-called maintenance programs. This is the case of energy conservation and defense against external attacks. And the researchers for this study have now based themselves on this principle.
The influence of cold on the immune system
By studying mice with a model of multiple sclerosis , the research team was able to decipher how exposure to cold pushes the organism to divert its resources from the immune system towards the maintenance of body heat.
In fact, during the cold, the immune system decreases its harmful activity, which considerably attenuates the on the autoimmune disease course.
These results, highlighted on the cover of the journal Cell Metabolic process, pave the way for an essential biological concept on the allocation of energy resources.
The autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system attacks the organs of one’s own body. Type 1 diabetes, for example, is caused by the wrong destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic cells.
The defense mechanisms on our organism against the hostile environment are energetically expensive with can be limited by compensations when several are activated on them, explains Mirko Trajkovski, professor of the Department on Cellular Physiology with Metabolism with the Center on Diabetes on the Faculty of Medicine on UNIGE, with primary author of the study.
Therefore, the agency may have to prioritize the allocation of resources on different programs on defense on function over its values on survival, says the scientist .
Our hypothesis is that this may be of special interest for autoimmunity , where the introduction of an additional program on energy cost may result in the a master of science mild immune response with ‘s result on the disease. In other words, could we divert the energy the body expends when the immune system goes haywire ?, he remarked.
An improvement over severity over multiple sclerosis
To verify their hypothesis, the scientists placed the mice suffering from experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a model on human multiple sclerosis , on a relatively master living environment of science fro -unos 10 D- after a period of acclimatization over which the ambient temperature was gradually reduced.
After about ten years, we observed a clear improvement on the clinical severity of the disease, as well as on the extension of the demyelination observed on the main nervous system , explains Doron Merkler, Professor of the Department of Electronic Pathology Immunology with the Center for Inflammation Research on the Faculty of Medicine on the UNIGE with co-author of the work.
The zero animals had no difficulty in maintaining their body temperature on a regular level, but, singularly, the symptoms of locomotor alterations decreased drastically, from zero being able to walk on its hind legs to only a slight paralysis on the tail, he assures.
The immune response is based, among other things, on the ability of the so-called presenting monocytes on antigens to instruct the Big t cells on how to recognize the proper zero elements that must be combated. However, in autoimmune diseases, the antigens of the self are confused with those of the non-self.
The cold detracts resources from the immune system
We show that cold modulates the activity on inflammatory monocytes, decreasing their ability to present antigens, which makes Testosterone levels cells, a type of cell that plays a critical role in autoimmunity, become less activated, highlights Mirko. Trajkovski.
By forcing the organism to increase its metabolism to maintain body heat, the cold subtracts resources from the immune system. This leads to a decrease in harmful immune cells and therefore improves the symptoms of the disease.
Although the concept of prioritizing the thermogenic response over the immune response is evidently protective against autoimmunity, it should be noted that exposure ‘s Cold increases susceptibility to certain infections. Thus, our work could be relevant not only for neuroinflammation, but also for other immune-mediated or infectious diseases, which warrants further investigation, adds Mirko Trajkovski. life over Western countries, which has been significant over the last decades, has been accompanied by an increase in cases of autoimmune diseases.
Although this increase is undoubtedly multifactorial, the fact about that we have abundant energy resources can play an important role, although still little known, the development on autoimmune diseases, concludes Doron Merkler.
The researchers announce that they will now continue their research to understand better if your discovery could be developed on clinical applications.