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A new study suggests that a key difference in the brains of male and female patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) may explain why more women than men get the disease.

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine found higher levels of protein S1PR2 in tests on the brains of female mice and dead women with MS than in male equivalents.

Four times more women than men are currently diagnosed with MS.

Experts said the finding was “really interesting”.

MS affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord, which causes problems with muscle movement, balance and vision.

Four times more women than men are currently diagnosed with MS

Four times more women than men are currently diagnosed with MS

Abnormal immune cells attack nerve cells in the central nervous system in MS patients.

There is currently no cure, although there are treatments that can help in the early stages of the disease.

Researchers in Missouri looked at relapsing remitting MS, where people have distinct attacks of symptoms that then fade away either partially or completely. About 85% of people with MS are diagnosed with this type.

Scientists studied the blood vessels and brains of healthy mice, mice with MS, and mice without the gene for S1PR2, a blood vessel receptor protein, to see how it affected MS severity.

They also looked at the brain tissue samples of 20 people after they had died.

They found high levels of S1PR2 in the areas of the brain typically damaged by MS in both mice and people.

The activity of the gene coding for S1PR2 was positively correlated with the severity of the disease in mice, the study said.

Scientists said S1PR2 could work by helping to make the blood-brain barrier, in charge of stopping potentially harmful substances from entering the brain and spinal fluid, more permeable.

A more permeable barrier could let attacking cells, which cause MS, into the central nervous system, the study said.

Prof. Robyn Klein, of the Washington University School of Medicine, said: “We were very excited to find the molecule, as we wanted to find a target for treatment that didn’t involve targeting the immune cells.

“This link [between MS and S1PR2] is completely new – it has never been found before.”

She said she did not know why the levels of S1PR2 were higher in women with MS, adding she had found oestrogen had “no acute role”.

Prof. Robyn Klein would be looking at taking her findings to clinical trials in the “next few years”.

The research was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.


Amanda Price, wife of a Mississippi high school football coach was gunned down Monday night after she found a man lurking in the family house backyard.

Amanda Price’s husband, Ron, was also shot as he sprinted outside their New Albany home to help her, but he is expected to recover.

New Albany Police Chief David Grisham says the shooting happened just before 10:00 p.m. on Monday.

David Grisham said Amanda Price had gone outside to take their dog out and startled someone, who shot her in the chest when she screamed.

Hearing the screams and gunshots, Ron Price, who was inside the house, ran out to help when he was shot in the shoulder.

Amanda Price, her husband Ron and their 3-year-old daughter Molly

Amanda Price, her husband Ron and their 3-year-old daughter Molly


Ron Price, who was able to call 911 after he was shot, was treated and released early Tuesday morning from North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo.

The couple’s three-year-old daughter Molly, who was inside the house at the time of the shooting, was not hurt.

New Albany Mayor Tim Kent told WTVA.com that the couple was always willing to help in the community.

Tim Kent said: “They just have a soft spot in their heart for everybody.”

Police have few clues about the killer, but believe he may be linked to a series of car burglaries in the area at about the same time as the shooting.

Chief David Grisham told Fox 13: “The only description we have at this time is approximately 6 foot, dressed in dark clothing, with a mask over his face.”

Ron Price had recently completed his fourth season as head coach for the New Albany Bulldogs.

Amanda Price was a speech pathologist in the same school district.

A $20,000 reward has been offered for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer.