A new discovery about the immune responses involved in multiple sclerosis (MS) could improve the diagnosis of the condition. Researchers have found antibodies in the blood of MS patients that attack a potassium channel in the cell membrane. Potassium channels are integral to the transmission of impulses to muscle and nerve cells, which are inhibited in MS patients. In patients with MS it was found that antibodies bound with potassium channel KIR4.1, indicating that the channel is a target of autoimmune response for the condition. KIR4.1 is found primarily the membrane of glial cells, which control metabolism in the brain and the formation of myelin. In patients with MS, myelin is attacked by the body's own defence cells in the brain and spinal cord. However, a previous study has suggested that damaged myelin is not the cause of MS. Researchers are now conducting further investigations to better understand how KIR4.1 antibodies influence the development of MS. Read about Barchester expertise in offering multiple sclerosis support.