The lead authors on the work are postdoctoral fellows Olga Rojas, PhD, and Elisa Porfilio, PhD, from the Gommerman lab at the University of Toronto and Anne-Katrin Pröbstel, MD, from the Baranzini lab at UCSF. In a moment of scientific serendipity, they recently presented their research at the same conference and realized their results aligned. The researchers began to collaborate, and Pröbstel and colleagues in the Baranzini lab were able to show that the Gommerman lab’s findings in mice had parallels to human MS patients.
Specifically, the UCSF team found evidence that IgA was decreased in fecal samples from patients with active MS neuroinflammation, suggesting that the inflammation-suppressing cells had been recruited to help fight the patients’ disease.
One promising aspect of the new research is that increasing the number of IgA plasma cells that migrate from the gut to the brain eradicated neuroinflammation in mice. A therapeutic approach might aim to expand the number of these cells in the gut, enabling a plentiful supply that could move to the brain and dampen inflammation.