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Wolfgang Brück talks with ScienceWatch.com and answers a few questions about this month's Emerging Research Front Paper in the field of Neuroscience & Behavior.
Brück Article: Acute axonal damage in multiple sclerosis is most extensive in early disease stages and decreases over time
Authors: Kuhlmann, T;Lingfeld, G;Bitsch, A;Schuchardt, J;Bruck, W
Journal: BRAIN, 125: 2202-2212 Part 10 OCT 2002
Addresses: Univ Gottingen, Inst Neuropathol, Robert Koch Str 40, D-37075 Gottingen, Germany.
Humboldt Univ, Dept Neuropathol, Charite, Berlin, Germany.
Ruppiner Kliniken GmbH, Dept Neurol, Neuruppin, Germany.

Why do you think your paper is highly cited?

It shows that axonal damage occurs very early in MS. This paper forms the pathological basis for early treatment in MS. In recent years, it has become more evident that axonal damage is the major morphological substrate of permanent clinical disability.

Would you summarize the significance of your paper in layman's terms?

Multiple sclerosis is characterized morphologically by the key features of demyelination, inflammation, gliosis, and axonal damage. In our study, we investigated the occurrence of acute axonal damage determined by immunocytochemistry for amyloid precursor protein (APP) which is produced in neurones and accumulates at sites of recent axon transection or damage.

The paper shows that, early in MS, neurodegenerative processes begin. Our results indicate that a putative axon-protective treatment should start as early as possible and include strategies preventing T-cell/macrophage-mediated axon destruction and leading to remyelination of axons.

How did you become involved in this research and were any particular problems encountered along the way?

I am interested in the pathology and immunopathology of MS.

Where do you see your research leading in the future?

Toward a clarification of the mechanisms of lesion evolution in MS.

Do you foresee any social or political implications for your research?

Yes, toward a more individualized patient therapy for MS.

Prof. Dr. med. Wolfgang Brück
Institut für Neuropathologie
Universitätsmedizin der Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Göttingen, Germany

Keywords: multiple sclerosis, MS, demyelination, inflammation, gliosis, acute axonal damage, amyloid precursor protein, APP, neurodegenerative processes, axon-protective treatment, T-cell, macrophage-mediated axon destruction, remyelination of axons.

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2008 : August 2008 : Wolfgang Brück