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March 22, 2019: At Journal Club, our experts sat down to discuss a paper on the relationship of the flu virus and relapses.
Blackmore et al 2017 - Influenza infection triggers disease in a genetic model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
Previous research has established a link between infections and worsening of disease in multiple sclerosis patients and patients with other neurological diseases. This group of researchers sought to further understand this relationship by studying flu infection in the animal model of MS – experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Their research demonstrated that infection with the flu virus triggers disease and causes more immune system proteins to be present in the cerebellum and spinal cord. The researchers found that a particular gene, CXCL5, was present in the animal model as well as in the cerebrospinal fluid of MS patients during relapses. These findings can help us understand what triggers relapses in patients, but further research is needed to fully understand the mechanism by which disease worsening occurs.