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Oxidative Stress in Cerebrospinal Fluid of PPMS Patients Lowered by Use of Steroids

August 8, 2016

A pilot study found a steroid treatment beneficial by decreasing oxidative stress in the cerebrospinal fluid in patients with progressive multiple sclerosis.  Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a clear liquid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord which acts like a cushion to protect against injury.

It has been showed that alterations in CSF composition are found in disease states. Healthy individuals, for example, lack certain chemical radicals which are molecules found in high levels in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

In order for our bodies to counteract the accumulation of damaging proteins resulting from oxidative stress, we possess mechanisms like antioxidant responses. This is an important mechanism for maintaining homeostasis and viability. Investigating a mechanism like this may give researchers indications as to the interplay of disease progression, chronic inflammation and response to treatment.

The effect of one delayed-release steroid application with triamcinolone (TCA) injection was studied on the antioxidant system in the CSF of chronic progressive MS patients. A total of 16 MS patients had been treated with 40 mg of TCA. The antioxidant potential was then measured by the number of proteins positive for an increase in copper absorption was then analyzed.

Radicals were observed to be present in MS patients’ CSF while they were absent in healthy controls. There was a detected increase in copper absorption, which reflected in an elevated content of proteins that were reduced in the CSF. These results displayed how the role of TCA is beneficial by decreasing the generation of damaging reactive oxygen species, which is the detrimental outcome of oxidative stress.

While these results are preliminary, the results do seem to indicate that intrathecal steroid application alters the redox potential in CSF in a positive way.