Antibodies Circulating in Blood May Serve as Biomarker for ALS, Disease Severity

The presence of a certain type of proteins of the immune system in the blood may serve as a reliable biomarker for the diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), as well as the severity of the disease, according to a new study conducted by Japanese and American researchers.

The study, “Anti-Sulfoglucuronosyl Paragloboside Antibody: A Potential Serologic Marker of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis,” was published in the journal ASN Neuro.

ALS is characterized by the loss of motor neurons located in the spinal cord that control muscle activity, but exactly what factors trigger the development of this disease remain elusive. One possible explanation may be that the person’s own immune system reacts against these neurons by sending antibodies to destroy them, leading to the development of ALS.

One group of antibodies that has been associated with neurological disorders is called the sulfoglucuronosyl paragloboside (SGPG) antibodies, which target the SGPG protein at the surface of the motor neurons. This may be how a dysregulated immune system attacks these neurons.

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