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Neurosci Lett. 2008 Oct 24;444(2):195-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2008.08.035. Epub 2008 Aug 15.

Elevated myeloperoxidase activity in white matter in multiple sclerosis.

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MS Laboratories, Burden Centre, University of Bristol Institute of Clinical Neurosciences, Frenchay Hospital, Bristol BS16 1JB, United Kingdom.


Recent studies have revealed extensive axonal damage in patients with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). Axonal damage can be caused by a plethora of factors including the release of proteolytic enzymes and cytotoxic oxidants by activated immune cells and glia within the lesion. Macrophages and microglia are known to express myeloperoxidase (MPO) and generate reactive oxygen species during myelin phagocytosis in the white matter. In the present study we have measured MPO levels in post-mortem homogenates of demyelinated and non-demyelinated regions of white matter from nine patients with MS and seven controls, and assessed MPO immunoreactivity within MS brain. In homogenates of MS white matter, demyelination was associated with significantly elevated MPO activity when compared to controls. Immunohistochemistry showed MPO to be expressed mainly by macrophages within and adjacent to plaques. Demyelination in MS is associated with increased activity of MPO, suggesting that this production of reactive oxygen species may contribute to axonal injury within plaques.

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