Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Funded Research

Impact of MicroRNA-223 on Immune and Glial Cells in Multiple Sclerosis

Year Awarded: 2016

Term: 3 years

Funding Amount: $344,104

Affiliation(s): Memorial University of Newfoundland

Province(s): Newfoundland and Labrador

Researcher(s): Dr. Craig Moore

Research Priorities: Repair/Remyelination

Impact Goal(s): Understand and Halt Disease Progression


  • While microRNAs are found in both immune cells and brain cells, some can play an important role in controlling inflammation and tissue repair in the damaged brain.
  • One microRNA in particular, called mir-223, may be important in promoting the brain to repair itself. However, in MS this microRNA is dysregulated.
  • The research team will:
    • Use both lab-grown cells and animal models of MS to test the role of microRNAs (mir-223 in particular) in MS.
    • Increase the levels of mir-233 to improve clinical outcomes in animal models of MS.

Project Description:

Dr. Craig Moore and his team are studying specific molecules called microRNAs, which are potential new targets for progressive MS treatment. Found in both nerve and immune cells, some microRNAs might play an important role in controlling inflammation and tissue repair in the damaged brain. The Moore lab discovered one microRNA molecule in particular-called mir-223- to be important in promoting repair in MS. To characterize the role of mir-223 in detail, the Moore lab is examining the activation levels of inflammatory signals when cells grown in a dish are treated with mir-223. Additional experiments will also aim to investigate the role of mir-223 in animal models of MS. In the past two years, the research team has discovered that increasing the levels of mir-223 can decrease inflammation and may help stimulate repair using lab-grown cells. In animal models of MS, the results also demonstrate that mice lacking mir-223 have decreased ability to stimulate remyelination and repair in the inflamed brain. Dr. Moore hopes that this research will identify a novel target that could be further explored for treating both relapsing and progressive forms of MS.

Potential Impact: Determine the role of molecules called microRNAs and identify if they have the potential to promote repair in MS.

Project Status: In Progress

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