Home - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Skip to navigation Skip to content


Current Funded Research > Minnesota


Alvin Beitz, PhD

Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences

College of Veterinary Medicine

University of Minnesota

St. Paul, MN

NMSS Chapter: Minnesota

Pilot Research Award: $44,000; 4/1/05-3/31/08


“Effect of opiates on autoimmunity associated with MS” Exploring pain in MS and its possible relationship to underlying disease activity, in order to develop treatments that may address both this symptom and MS itself.


Pain can be a common and disabling symptom of multiple sclerosis. Opiates such as morphine are known to reduce pain. There are also natural opiates in the body that can relieve pain. Alvin Beitz, PhD, has found that the docking sites for these chemicals are significantly less active in TMEV an animal model of MS and that this lack of activity correlates with tissue damage. This has led him to hypothesize that administering opiates may not only help to treat MS pain, but may help to reduce disease activity.


Dr. Beitz is now administering opiates to mice with TMEV. It is particularly difficult to prevent worsening of disease in this model. His team is observing how treatment with opiates affects the extent of the immune attack, tissue damage in the spinal cord, and consequent neurological impairment.


This study takes a novel approach to understanding basic mechanisms at work in MS-like disease, and may bring new insight to the treatment of pain.