Mayo Clinic Laboratory and Pathology Research Roundup: March 27

The Research Roundup provides an overview of the past week’s research from Mayo Medical Laboratories consultants, including featured abstracts and complete list of published studies and reviews.


Featured Abstract

Pathogenic Implications of Distinct Patterns of Iron and Zinc in Chronic MS Lesions

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS) in which oligodendrocytes, the CNS cells that stain most robustly for iron and myelin, are the targets of injury. Metals are essential for normal CNS functioning, and metal imbalances have been linked to demyelination and neurodegeneration. Using a multidisciplinary approach involving synchrotron techniques, iron histochemistry and immunohistochemistry, Mayo Clinic researchers compared the distribution and quantification of iron and zinc in MS lesions to the surrounding normal appearing and periplaque white matter, and assessed the involvement of these metals in MS lesion pathogenesis. Researchers found that the distribution of iron and zinc is heterogeneous in MS plaques, and with few remarkable exceptions they do not accumulate in chronic MS lesions. They show that brain iron tends to decrease with increasing age and disease duration of MS patients; reactive astrocytes organized in large astrogliotic areas in a subset of smoldering and inactive plaques accumulate iron and safely store it in ferritin; a subset of smoldering lesions do not contain a rim of iron-loaded macrophages/microglia; and the iron content of shadow plaques varies with the stage of remyelination. Zinc in MS lesions was generally decreased, paralleling myelin loss. Iron accumulates concentrically in a subset of chronic inactive lesions suggesting that not all iron rims around MS lesions equate with smoldering plaques. Upon degeneration of iron-loaded microglia/macrophages, astrocytes may form an additional protective barrier that may prevent iron-induced oxidative damage. The study was published in Acta Neuropathologica.


Published to PubMed This Week

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Kelley Schreiber

Kelley Schreiber is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Medical Laboratories. She is the principle editor and writer of Insights and leads social media and direct marketing strategy. Kelley has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2013. Outside of work, you can find Kelley running, traveling, playing with her new kitten, and exploring new foods.