A research team from Weill Cornell Medical College linked a toxin made by a rare species of Clostridium perfringens to MS-like damage in the brain of mice. This same team discovered the toxin-generating strain of C. perfringens in a young woman with MS. C. perfringens is anaerobic, spore-forming bacteria found in soil, the intestinal tract of humans and animals and contaminated meat. The Weill researchers isolated epsilon, a toxin produced by Type B of C. perfringens, with the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and kill myelin-producing cells. Myelin is a substance that surrounds and protects nerve fibers, and is damaged in individuals with MS.
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