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Progression in multiple sclerosis is associated with low endogenous NCAM

Gnanapavan, S;Ho, P;Heywood, W;Jackson, S;Grant, D;Rantell, K;Keir, G;Mills, K;Steinman, L;Giovannoni, G;

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a CNS disorder characterized by demyelination and neurodegeneration. Although hallmarks of recovery (remyelination and repair) have been documented in early MS, the regenerative capacity of the adult CNS per se remains uncertain with the wide held belief that it is either limited or non-existent. The neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) is a cell adhesion molecule that has been widely implicated in axonal outgrowth, guidance and fasciculation. Here, we used in vitro and in vivo of MS to investigate the role of NCAM in disease progression. We show that in health NCAM levels decrease over time, but this occurs acutely after demyelination and remains reduced in chronic disease. Our findings suggest that depletion of NCAM is one of the factors associated with or possibly responsible for disease progression in MS.