The toxin acrolein has been linked with the development of MS by a group of scientists from Purdue University, who believe a hypertension drug could help to treat the disease.
Acrolein is commonly found in air pollutants, including tobacco smoke and car exhausts, with previous studies having shown that the drug hydralazine can be used to prevent death by this toxin.
Levels of the toxin were elevated by 60 per cent in the spinal cord tissues of mice with a disease similar to multiple sclerosis, which prompted the link and possible treatment to be outlined.
Lead researcher Riyi Shi explained: "The dosage we used for hydralazine in animals is several times lower than the standard dosing for oral hydralazine in human pediatric patients.
"We expect that our study will lead to the development of new neuroprotective therapies for MS."
Research published in the Archives of Neurology in September suggested that asthma medication albuterol could help to curb the impact of MS on patients.
Read about Barchester expertise in offering multiple sclerosis support.