Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Funded Research

Identification of Metabolic Signatures (Energy Needs) of Microglial Activation in MS

Year Awarded: 2022

Term: 2 years

Funding Amount: $50,000

Affiliation(s): Memorial University of Newfoundland

Province(s): Newfoundland and Labrador

Researcher(s): Dr. Deepak Kaushik

Impact Goal(s): Understand and Halt Disease Progression

Summary:

  • Microglia cells use special energy as part of their metabolism to remove damaged myelin from the brain and allow remyelination to occur. However, during MS, myelin removal by microglia becomes less effective due to the changes in cellular metabolism.
  • This research will closely examine the energy processes within microglia cells and determine how they are altered during MS.
  • Findings from this research will generate new knowledge on how alterations in microglia energy pathways can influence their normal function and determine if they can be pharmacologically targeted to enhance myelin clearance, reduce inflammation and potentially delay disease progression.

Project Description:

Accumulation of damaged myelin - the protective coating surrounding nerve fibres - in the brain is thought to be one of the contributing factors to disease progression in MS. Microglia are immune cells in the brain that remove damaged myelin and allow remyelination to occur. Microglia use special energy, as part of their metabolism, that helps them perform this function. However, in the context of MS, myelin removal by microglia becomes less effective due to the changes in microglia metabolism.

This research will closely examine the energy processes within microglia cells and identify potential therapeutic targets for MS. Using mice with MS-like disease, Dr. Kaushik will determine how MS disease pathology alters specific metabolic and energy pathways within microglia cells and how it affects their function. Additionally, they plan to determine if they can use pharmaceutical agents to block disease-related energy pathways to reduce inflammation, increase myelin removal in the brain, and ultimately delay disease progression.

Potential Impact:

Findings from this research will generate new knowledge on how energy pathways within microglia cells are altered during MS and determine if they can be pharmacologically targeted to restore normal cellular functions.

Project Status: Ongoing

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