Disclaimer: This page may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission for purchases made through links in this post, at no extra cost to you.

Microparticles Reversed Physical Disability in MS Mouse Models

Mouse Cute

Microparticles Reversed Physical Disability in MS mice models. So what does that have to do with you, you ask? Well, to put it simply, it means there may be a potential cure for multiple sclerosis down the road. Scientists at Johns Hopkins University have filed a patent for what they think will be a treatment that can reverse the symptoms associated with autoimmune diseases like MS. Exciting, huh?!

The study was funded by grants from the US Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, as well as The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. They hope to begin safety and efficacy studies in mice and then move to human trials after that. Who knows, in several years, autoimmune diseases like MS, may be totally reversible.

How does it work, this treatment? First lets go over how the immune system works. The immune system basically is supposed to leave the body alone while anything that isn’t part of the body should be attacked and treated as a threat. This is called immune tolerance. So when you get sick, the immune system should only attack foreign intruders, like germs.

An autoimmune disease happens when immune tolerance breaks down and your immune system starts attacking healthy tissue. In MS, the healthy tissue is the myelin sheath, which is the fatty covering that protects nerve cells so that they can smoothly send electrical signals throughout the body.

Special T-cells

The important cells in this case are regulatory T-cells, or Tregs. (I know it sounds like T-Rex, but no, trust me, they aren’t the same.) Tregs are special T-cells in that they regulate immune tolerance. They have special receptors that bind to a specific protein or peptide. Once they bind to their target, they cause the cell to secrete anti-inflammatory signaling molecules.

That’s why they’re so important in this new treatment model, but more on that in a bit. The Tregs are supposed to stop the body from attacking itself by recognizing healthy cells. In MS and other autoimmune diseases, these regulatory cells don’t work correctly to maintain your body’s immune tolerance.

Microparticles Reversed Physical Disability

Microparticles to the rescue! The scientists at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine decided to make up microparticles that could activate Tregs and help restore immune tolerance in an MS mouse model. According to the team “these tiny particles contained a combination of molecules designed to bind specifically to Treg receptors and deliver a fragment of myelin protein, a molecule that activated Tregs, and another that dampened the function of other T-cells.”

Sooo, they hoped that this would start an anti-inflammatory response that would slow down the attack on the myelin sheath. They call the microparticles, Tol-MPs, which is short for tolerogenic microparticles. When the microparticles  worked to activate the Tregs, they tried them on a mouse model with EAE or experimental autoimmune encephalitis. And to make a long story short, it worked!

“We inject the loaded microparticles near lymphatic tissues to stimulate the production and growth of T regs and facilitate their travel to the central nervous system via the lymphatic system,” says study co-senior and corresponding author Jordan Green, Ph.D., director of the Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Laboratory and professor of biomedical engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Our study findings showed that in all of our mice, the T regs stopped the autoimmune activity of the effectors against myelin, prevented further damage to the nerves and gave them the time needed to recover.”

Image by Robert Owen-Wahl from Pixabay mouse 2

When the mice were treated early with the Tol-MPs, symptoms were delayed and the disease wasn’t as severe. And when they injected the particles into lymph nodes - the place where T-cells are most active - they got even better results.

When mice had ongoing EAE, the microparticles reversed physical disability immediately in 100% of the mice. Yay! In mice given a dummy treatment, disability scores went up to a three or more, while ⅔ of those treated with the Tol-MPs every five days, their scores dropped to a one. The rest of the mice had a score of zero and were shown to have higher levels of the special Treg cells. Woohoo!

They were able to reverse the symptoms in all of the mice and cure more than a third of them. This is so exciting! The results of the study are promising and they are moving ahead with research to study the microparticles. It could eventually be a safe way to prevent and treat MS and other autoimmune diseases.

Treat Other Autoimmune Diseases


This treatment will also be a potential treatment and cure for other autoimmune diseases as well. The researchers say that they can switch the part of the microparticle that mimics the myelin sheath in MS for a different peptide in order to treat all the other autoimmune diseases. 

This is one of the most exciting and promising studies I’ve read about so far. Where most other treatments that have been developed seek to minimize symptoms or slow progression, this one can actually reverse the disease itself. Hopefully it will come soon enough for Cir to take advantage of the treatment. 

This is still in the beginning stages and studies can take years as they follow the protocol to make sure they’re safe. It does seem that on a safety scale (my made up scale, mind you), this treatment would have very little side effects, however you never know. Either way, I am excited to follow this team of researchers at John Hopkins School of Medicine as they continue their studies.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Dear Friends,

"Life in Spite of MS is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. We're also part of the Ebay Partner Network, another affiliate program."

We'd also like you to know it doesn't cost one cent more  when you click through the links here on our blog. Not one single penny. And we will make a little extra cash when you do click through. We'll be ever so appreciative. You also have our word that we'll only link to things that we would use ourselves, (or wish we could have or use).


Cir & Akrista

You are reading original content written by Akrista or Cir L'Bert of Life in Spite of MS. If you enjoyed reading this blog, please consider following us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. See you there!

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Enjoy this page? Why not pay it forward? Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Privacy Policy ~ Advertising Policy ~ DisclaimerContact Us ~ About Us