Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Funded Research

Impact of IL-27 on MS pathobiology

Year Awarded: 2017

Term: 2 years

Funding Amount: $383,138

Affiliation(s): Centre de Recherche du CHUM

Province(s): Quebec

Researcher(s): Dr. Nathalie Arbour


  • IL-27 is a molecule that can diminish the severity of multiple sclerosis (MS) in a mouse model of the disease.
  • Whether IL-27 is beneficial in individuals with MS is unresolved.
  • The research team will:
    • Compare the impact of IL-27 on immune cells from people with MS compared to those from healthy donors.
    • Determine whether IL-27 can weaken abnormal immune responses in individuals with MS.
    • Dissect the mechanisms through which IL-27 contributes its effect on the brain.

Project Description:

The immune system protects us from invading microbes, but in MS, malfunctions and causes inflammation leading to attacks on parts of the brain. Dr. Nathalie Arbour’s research aims to identify molecules that are present in the brains of people living with MS. Her research is specifically looking at a molecule called IL-27, which has previously been shown to block inflammation in animal models of MS. She wants to examine if the levels of IL-27 present in the blood of individuals with MS is a good indicator of the disease activity as well as the type of MS. So far, she has shown evidence that IL-27 triggers different responses in white blood cells from people with MS compared to those from healthy individuals. Dr. Arbour’s research project will also dissect the effects of IL-27 on astrocytes, which are called the “house-keeping” cells of the brain. This research potentially offers a new target in the pathophysiology of MS and may led to development of novel biomarkers for the disease.

Potential Impact: Determine whether the quantity of IL-27 in the blood of people with MS could become a good marker to predict disease activity and progression.

Project Status: In Progress

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