Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Mechanisms and parameters of exercise-induced remyelination in mice

Principal Investigator: Dr. Wee Yong

Affiliation: University of Calgary

Term: April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2019

Funding: $412,636

Keywords: exercise, repair, PGC1aplpha, remyelination

Summary:

  • Over the past few decades, research has uncovered considerable benefits associated with physical activity, particularly with improving symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • Whether physical activity after mice are experimentally induced with an MS-like condition would enhance repair processes through modulation of the lesion microenvironment is unknown.
  • The research team will:
    • Determine if physical activity in mice with loss of myelin will stimulate myelin production.
    • Identify the mechanisms through which physical activity exhibits its beneficial effects.
    • Investigate the type, duration, and intensity of physical exercise that is optimal to promote repair of myelin.

Project Description:

Loss of myelin, the protective covering of nerve fibers, is one of the hallmarks of MS. The Yong lab has been researching various means to promote remyelination using mice with an experimentally-induced injury to the spinal cord. Given that physical activity is known to improve wellness in people with MS, Dr. Wee Yong and his team are exploring whether physical exercise can promote remyelination. They have generated exciting data demonstrating that mice who are given free access to a running wheel following injury in the spinal cord generate new oligodendrocytes, the cells producing myelin, over two weeks compared to mice with an injury that do not participate in physical activity. In addition to showing that physical activity promotes oligodendrocyte regeneration and myelin repair, the research team has also begun to uncover the underlying mechanisms occurring within oligodendrocytes that allow for this repair process. Ongoing work is determining the type, duration, and intensity of physical exercise that is needed for successful repair following neurological damage.

Potential Impact: Results of this study will prompt people with MS to remain physically active as physical activity not only improves physiology but also subsequent recovery processes.

Project Status: In Progress