The Most Frequent Inflammatory Disease Of The Central Nervous System ( Cns )

2046 Words9 Pages
The most frequent inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS) impacts the lives of two and half million people in the world, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) (Schattling, 2013). Growing up, this disease has personally affected my family, and seeing a first hand account of the burden and turmoil that this disease causes for all of its patients it is critical to understand how this disease degenerates neurons and axons. The key players in this process are nervous system ion channels that regulate the influx and efflux of sodium and calcium, whether through exchangers or voltage-gated channels. There are normal molecular settings in neurons and there are MS molecular settings; the two are very different and progressively become further…show more content…
These layers are made of myelin, produced by Schwann cells that are assigned early in the organism’s development. As these layers develop they become tightly packed around the axons, and the main benefit of this coating is that it prevents the exiting and entering of ions for a distance along the axons. This protection allows the ions to travel further and cause action potentials at a faster rate (Norton and Cammer, 1984). Action potentials are caused by the influx of sodium ions followed by the slow efflux of potassium ions. The process of rapid action potentials jumping from one node to the next is called salutatory conductance (Black et al., 1991). Now, why are myelin sheaths so important to the fundamental understanding of MS? Briefly, individuals with MS have immune cells, many types, which attack the myelin around the axons—degenerating the myelin. This degeneration slows down the rate of action potentials in these axons (Wang et al., 2014). The entire purpose of action potentials is to respond to the stimulus placed upon the channels. This response is involved with cell-to-cell signaling and communication and sending messages back to the CNS. Without the protection around the axon the ions inside that produce an action potential now have the opportunity to exit the axon causing a shortening or even elimination in the distance the action potential travels. This is severely detrimental to the axon and neuron. To
Open Document