Dr Stein and colleagues will investigate hormones in the blood in relapsing remitting MS. This pilot study will examine levels of particular hormones in the blood of people with MS and compare them with measurements taken from healthy controls. If hormonal dysfunction is found to be a hallmark of relapsing remitting MS, this project may help explain one of the mechanisms that underlie the disease process. If this proves to be a feature of the disease, levels of blood hormones could also provide biomarkers for the future development of MS. Biomarkers would be particularly useful, for example, to identify people most at risk for developing MS and to target prevention strategies.
This proof of concept study aims to determine the relationship between hormones in the blood and the severity of relapsing remitting MS. At this stage, the research team has run extensive assays to measure the hormones of interest, and statistical analysis of the results has commenced.
Further work in 2014 will explore whether circulating blood levels of hormones, including vitamin D, thyroid hormones, growth factors and homeostatic regulators, are higher in people with relapsing remitting MS; and whether the metabolic interactions among these hormones are also disturbed. Altered blood levels of these hormones may provide insight into the mechanisms of MS as many of these hormones have effects on the immune system. These hormones may also represent a useful ‘marker’ of MS if they can reliably distinguish between people with or without MS.
Updated: 30 June 2014
Updated: 03 January, 2013