Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system, in which nerve cells are attacked by the patient’s own immune system. In many cases, the disease develops into a progressive form, which is characterized by a shift of pathology from the white matter to the gray matter, for instance, to the cerebral cortex. This phase of the disease has so far been difficult to treat and its underlying causes are poorly understood. Now, a research team led by Martin Kerschensteiner, Director of the Institute for Clinical Neuroimmunology at LMU, in cooperation with Thomas Misgeld (Technical University of Munich) and Doron Merkler (University of Geneva), has shown in a mouse model that inflammation of the gray matter leads to a decrease in nerve-cell activity, owing to the (potentially reversible) destruction of synapses. “Targeted inhibition of specific types of immune cells can slow synapse damage down, and offers an interesting new therapeutic approach,” Kerschensteiner explains.