Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Funded Research

MicroRNA-145 is a key regulator of oligodendrocytes maturation and CNS myelination

Year Awarded: 2017

Term: 3 years

Funding Amount: $301,920

Affiliation(s): Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Province(s): Ontario

Researcher(s): Dr. Rashmi Kothary

Research Priorities: Repair/Remyelination

Impact Goal(s): Advance Treatment and Care


  • Oligodendrocytes are myelin producing cells of the brain and spinal cord. Oligodendrocytes undergo morphological changes prior to producing myelin for nerve fibers.
  • The factors regulating the steps involved in these morphological changes are unknown.
  • The research team will:
    • Modulate specific molecules called microRNAs to regulate a specific set of genes implicated in the morphological changes of oligodendrocytes , resulting in myelin-producing cells.

Project Description:

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease in which the insulation around the nerves, known as myelin, is damaged by the immune system. Myelin sheaths surrounding the nerve fibers are produced by a cell type called oligodendrocyte. Dr. Rashmi Kothary’s research team is looking deep into the genetic code of oligodendrocytes to see if there are any important clues that will reveal why myelin repair is inefficient or blocked in people with MS. His findings to date have revealed an increase in expression of a genetic molecule, miR-145, in MS lesions. His research’s team plans to test if increasing or decreasing the levels of miR-145 in both MS-like cellular and animal models will be beneficial or detrimental in the progression of the disease. Dr. Kothary hopes that the findings from his studies will have an impact on the development of future therapeutic strategies targeting myelin repair, which is crucial in MS.

Potential Impact: Understanding the genes implicated in myelin repair could lead to the development of better treatments that are targeting repair processes in MS.

Project Status: In Progress

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