Multiple Sclerosis

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Hydrophobic interaction isoelectric focusing (HIEF)

Multiple Sclerosis

HRHBTM MRI of Multiple Sclerosis

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neuroinflammatory disease that affects myelin, a substance that makes up the membrane (called the myelin sheath) that wraps around nerve fibers (axons). Myelinated axons are commonly called white matter. Researchers have learned that MS also damages the nerve cell bodies, which are found in the brain’s gray matter, as well as the axons themselves in the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerve (the nerve that transmits visual information from the eye to the brain). As the disease progresses, the brain’s cortex shrinks (cortical atrophy).

The term multiple sclerosis refers to the distinctive areas of scar tissue (sclerosis or plaques) that are visible in the white matter of people who have MS. Plaques can be as small as a pinhead or as large as the size of a golf ball.

Multiple sclerosis is a condition characterized by areas of damage (lesions) on the brain and spinal cord. These lesions are associated with destruction of the covering that protects nerves and promotes the efficient transmission of nerve impulses (the myelin sheath) and damage to nerve cells.

The ultimate cause of MS is damage to myelin, nerve fibers, and neurons in the brain and spinal cord, which together make up the central nervous system (CNS). But how that happens, and why, are questions that challenge researchers. Evidence appears to show that MS is a disease caused by genetic vulnerabilities combined with environmental factors. Although there is little doubt that the immune system contributes to the brain and spinal cord tissue destruction of MS, the exact target of the immune system attacks and which immune system cells cause the destruction isn’t fully understood. Researchers have several possible explanations for what might be going on. The immune system could be:

fighting some kind of infectious agent (for example, a virus) that has components which mimic components of the brain (molecular mimickry), destroying brain cells because they are unhealthy
mistakenly identifying normal brain cells as foreign.
The last possibility has been the favored explanation for many years. Research now suggests that the first two activities might also play a role in the development of MS. There is a special barrier, called the blood-brain barrier, which separates the brain and spinal cord from the immune system. If there is a break in the barrier, it exposes the brain to the immune system for the first time. When this happens, the immune system may misinterpret the brain as “foreign.”

Early Multiple Sclerosis (MS) detection with the new HIEF-ProPhylAir technique

The foci of inflammation (figure above) clearly visible in the MRI are a sign of advanced multiple sclerosis. With the new ProPhyl HIEF technology, it would be possible to detect multiple sclerosis much earlier than shown in the figure above and to begin efficient MS therapies immediately.

The high sensitivity and specificity of this method enable faster detection of progressive and chronic MS. Research has shown that there is a greater chance of successfully slowing disease progression

if effective drugs can be administered as soon as possible after diagnosis. ProPhyl Air can thus be an important tool in improving outcomes for MS sufferers.

High resolution of immunoglobulins (IgG) in the pathological cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)

Liquor diagnostics

We thank Prof. Wildemann, Neurology Heidelberg, for the provision of MS samples and the support from the German Cancer Research Center Heidelberg 

figure 2 Horizontal isoelectric focusing (click on image to enlarge it)
Gel matrix: ProPhyl Air
Gel thickness: 750µm
Carrier ampholyte: Sepalyte pH 3-10 (CSF)
Plastic carrier support: GelStick polyester sheet
Stain: silver stain

CSF examination service

ProTec Bioseparation offers cost-effective examinations of CSF samples (liquor) to support research laboratories in their analyses.
The aim of this service is to provide an initial orientation for neurodegenerative diseases and help confirm suspected cases (e.g. multiple sclerosis). 

To use our prompt service, please send us the most up-to-date sample material possible (CSF) and, for suspected cases of MS, the corresponding serum. (contact:

Comparison between ProPhyl Air and Acrylamide matrix

ProPhyl Air with Sepalyte CSF

Acrylamide matrix (supplier of precast gels)


Cause of multiple sclerosis

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis

multiple sclerosis diagnosis