PhD student, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common neurodegenerative disease. In MS patients immune system destroys myelin sheath around axons, leading to neural degeneration which is followed by various neurological dysfunctions. Fortunately, during remyelination process, spontaneous regenerative response to demyelination, new myelin sheaths are produced by oligodendrocytes. Neural stem cells (NSCs) have been demonstrated a great potential to produce new oligodendrocytes during remyelination. We investigate the role of NSCs in remyeliantion and molecular mechanisms regulating the behavior of these cells.
Abstract: Demyelinating diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), are responsible for a significant portion of the neurological disability burden worldwide, especially in young adults. Demyelination can be followed by a spontaneous regenerative process called remyelination, in which new myelin sheaths are restored to denuded axons. However, in chronic demyelinating disease such as MS, this process becomes progressively less efficient. This chapter reviews the biology of remyelination and the rationale and strategies by which it can be enhanced therapeutically in acquired demyelinating disease.
Pub.: 31 May '17, Pinned: 26 Aug '17
Abstract: Adult neural stem and progenitor cells (NSPCs) offer a unique opportunity for neural regeneration and niche modification in physiopathological conditions, harnessing the capability to modify from neuronal circuits to glial scar. Findings exposing the vast plasticity and potential of NSPCs have accumulated over the past years and we currently know that adult NSPCs can naturally give rise not only to neurons but also to astrocytes and reactive astrocytes, and eventually to oligodendrocytes through genetic manipulation. We can consider NSPCs as endogenous flexible tools to fight against neurodegenerative and neurological disorders and aging. In addition, NSPCs can be considered as active agents contributing to chronic brain alterations and as relevant cell populations to be preserved, so that their main function, neurogenesis, is not lost in damage or disease. Altogether we believe that learning to manipulate NSPC is essential to prevent, ameliorate or restore some of the cognitive deficits associated with brain disease and injury, and therefore should be considered as target for future therapeutic strategies. The first step to accomplish this goal is to target them specifically, by unveiling and understanding their unique markers and signaling pathways.
Pub.: 29 Jul '17, Pinned: 26 Aug '17
Abstract: Neural progenitor cells (NPCs) grafted to sites of spinal cord injury (SCI) extend numerous axons over long distances and form new synaptic connections with host neurons. In the present study we examined the myelination of axons emerging from NPC grafts. Rat E14 multipotent NPCs constitutively expressing GFP were grafted into adult C5 spinal cord hemisection lesions; 3months later we examined graft-derived axonal diameter and myelination using transmission electron microscopy. 104 graft-derived axons were characterized. Axon diameter ranged from 0.15 to 1.70μm, and 24% of graft-derived axons were myelinated by host oligodendrocytes caudal to the lesion. The average diameter of myelinated axons (0.72±0.06μm) was significantly larger than that of non-myelinated axons (0.61±0.03μm, p<0.05). Notably, the G-ratio of myelinated graft-derived axons (0.77±0.01) was virtually identical to that of the normal, intact spinal cord described in published reports. These findings indicate that axons emerging from early stage neural grafts into the injured spinal cord recapitulate both the small/medium size range and myelin thickness of intact spinal cord axons.
Pub.: 13 Jul '17, Pinned: 26 Aug '17