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Interview with Dr. Don Mahad: The contribution of mitochondrial abnormalities to the pathology of MS

MAHAD1-HD

Dr. Mahad discussed some highlights from his work on the contribution of mitochondrial abnormalities to the pathology of MS. Autopsy tissue from patients with progressive MS showed mitochondrial defects. Further research demonstrated that demyelinated axons have increased energy demands resulting in changes in mitochondrial numbers, distribution, and dynamics.

Dr. Mahad has developed transgenic mice with mitochondrial respiratory chain defects that lead to degeneration. A key insight that has been learned from these models are that neurodegenerative changes occur early on in the pathology of the disease. These mice also demonstrate measurable behaviors, such as fatigue, and the biological processes that play a role in that process are measurable. Interestingly, therapeutic treatments administered to these mice early on in the disease process can rescue the fatigability as well as impact overall survival and neuropathology. This work has led to observations that earlier treatment in patients with MS results in better prognosis over the long-term.

Dr. Don Mahad, Center for Neurodegeneration, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

The interview was recorded at the annual meeting of the CMSC, taking place in June 2016 in National Harbour (MD), USA.