Fighting Multiple Sclerosis with Cold—Scientists at University of Geneva Are Demonstrating How Cold Temperatures Could Alleviate Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis by Depriving Immune System of Its Energy

In evolutionary biology, the “Life History Theory,” first proposed in the 1950s, postulates that when the environment is favorable, the resources used by any organism are devoted for growth and reproduction. Conversely, in a hostile environment, resources are transferred to so-called maintenance programs, such as energy conservation and defense against external attacks. Scientists at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) developed this idea to a specific field of medicine: the erroneous activation of the immune system that causes autoimmune diseases. By studying mice suffering from a model of multiple sclerosis, the research team succeeded in deciphering how exposure to cold pushed the organism to divert its resources from the immune system towards maintaining body heat. Indeed, during cold, the immune system decreased its harmful activity which considerably attenuated the course of the autoimmune disease. These results, highlighted on the cover of the journal Cell Metabolism, pave the way for a fundamental biological concept on the allocation of energy resources. The research article was published online on October 22, 2021 and is titledCold Exposure Protects from Neuroinflammation Through Immunologic Reprogramming.”
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