Myasthenia gravis is caused by a mutation in the mitochondrial DNA which can cause various mitochondrial diseases including encephalomyelitis (asthma). Malaria parasite that infects African green monkey referi fruit is one such pediatric cause of severe encephalomyelitis (endemic tremor) and also different forms of spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) a disease caused by mutations in the neuronal genes that control the brains electrical activity.
In a study published today in EMBO Molecular Medicine Martin Steiners research group from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Berlin Germany has found that mitochondrial DNA variants cause encephalomyelitis infections caused by the parasitic nematode worm Trypanosoma cruzi also known as the clawed-on-myasthenia worm is found in the African lychee and this variant is present in South American children with characterized ataxia. The LMU researchers identified the mutation in the mitochondrial DNA gene due to faulty CCR5 interaction with beige blood cells that make up the myelin sheath of primates with substituted form of the DNA region. This is the first concrete evidence that an ataxia type 1 variant is present in humans. The genetic mutations leave patients unable to produce high levels of myelin sheaths energy which might be used to protect the nerves. The finding has implications for new therapeutic approaches against myasthenia gravis infection and could eventually lead to a treatment that might be successful against other forms of neurological diseases such as Alzheimers disease.