Role and therapeutic potential of Neuregulin-1 as a modulator of neuroinflammation and remyelination in multiple sclerosis

Principal Investigator: Dr. Soheila Karimi

Affiliation: University of Manitoba

Term: April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2020

Funding: $358,321

Keywords: Neuregulin-1, myelin repair, immune modulation, oligodendrocyte replace and protection

Summary:

  • Neuregulin-1, a protein that may be essential for the formation of myelin, is significantly depleted in multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions in human brain tissue samples.
  • As many of the current MS therapies work by suppressing the immune response, there is a need to identify effective therapies that specifically promote repair and renewal of the damaged myelin.
  • The research team will:
    • Investigate whether Neuregulin-1 treatment can result in myelin repair and prevent disease progression.
    • Evaluate the potential role of Neuregulin-1 in reducing inflammatory processes in MS.

Project Description:

Loss of or damage to myelin, the protective covering over nerve fibers, is one of the more well-known characteristics of MS. Dr. Soheila Karimi’s research team has identified a protein called Neuregulin-1 which is important for the development of oligodendrocytes, the myelin-producing cells. Neuregulin-1 is significantly reduced in MS lesions and might be one of the causes for failure in myelin repair.Increasing Neuregulin-1 levels is theorized to enhance oligodendrocyte replacement, protect nerve fibers, and reduce scar formation. Dr. Karimi’s project will determine the role of Neuregulin-1 in demyelination and neurodegeneration using animals that have an MS-like disease. To perform this research, both genetic and pharmacological approaches will be used to reduce or enhance the activity of Neuregulin-1. Preliminary results from this project shows that Neuregulin-1 treatment leads to a better recovery, with no adverse effects, in an animal model of MS. Furthermore, Neuregulin-1 seems to improve functional recovery in behaviour by reducing factors that prevent myelin repair and exerting anti-inflammatory effects. Ongoing work will further determine how it functions and its efficacy and safety as a new treatment strategy for MS.

Potential Impact: Determine if Neuregulin-1 could be a potential treatment target aimed at repairing myelin in MS.

Project Status: In Progress

Open navigation