Finding new ways to protect oligodendrocytes

Image shows a microscope in a research laboratory

Dr Julia Edgar

University of Glasgow

£200,176

About the project

When myelin, the fatty protective layer that surrounds nerve fibres, is attacked by the immune system in MS the nerve can become exposed. This leaves it vulnerable to damage which is the main contributor to disability in MS. It is not known exactly how this damage accumulates but we do know that myelin making cells called oligodendrocytes are injured in MS. Injured oligodendrocytes are unable to make myelin as efficiently resulting in less myelin repair.

This project will investigate a particular structure called the myelinic channel and the role it may play in oligodendrocyte injury. Firstly, the researchers plan to look at the normal function of the myelinic channel, to understand more about it. Then they will mimic the immune response in MS and see how the myelinic channel is affected. If this channel appears to be damaged under MS conditions this may help to explain why oligodendrocytes become injured.

Treatments to prevent damage to the myelinic channel may help protect the oligodendrocytes. This might enable them to replace damaged myelin and prevent damage to the nerve.

The researchers will also be continuing to monitor and assess people who have been or are currently being treated with alemtuzumab so that this data can continue to be added to the growing bank of evidence.

How will it help people with MS?

There are currently no treatments available for progressive MS, largely because we don’t understand what causes it. This project will enable researchers to gain a better understanding of the steps leading to nerves being exposed. This knowledge could contribute to the development of interventions to minimise nerve damage which leads to disability in MS.

The difference you can make

It is vital that we understand the processes that result in nerve damage in order to develop treatments for people with progressive MS.

The next research breakthrough is in reach

Your donation will help stop MS.

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£10could buy vital lab supplies for MS researchers, helping them find ways to stop MS faster

£20could pay for lab equipment like petri dishes to grow bacteria important for studying the genetics of MS

£30could process one blood sample, giving us crucial information about genes that could lead to treatment breakthroughs

Every penny you give really does take us a step closer to stopping MS. Your donation will make a difference.

  • Please enter an amount

    Our minimum donation is £2, please enter a different amount.

£10a month could pay for lab equipment like microscope slides to study the building blocks of MS

£20a month could pay for lab equipment like petri dishes to grow bacteria important for studying genetics

£30a month could process a blood sample to help us understand what causes MS, so we can stop it in its tracks

Your regular donation means we can keep funding world class MS research with confidence. Together we will stop MS.

Photo: young girl with MS sits in hospital chair smiling at male nurse