Investigating how FoxO3a functions in remyelination

Image shows a scientist using a pipette and test tubes in a laboratory

Dr Mark Kotter

University of Cambridge


About the project

In MS, damage to the myelin sheath leaves nerve cells exposed and vulnerable to injury. There are specialised cells made in the brain and spinal cord that produce myelin. These cells are called oligodendrocytes and in MS, far fewer are produced therefore reducing the capacity of the body to repair myelin. Progress has been made in understanding how oligodendrocytes are produced, and one key protein identified is called FoxO3a. Researchers have found that by blocking FoxO3a activity they can cause more oligodendrocytes and myelin to be made. This project will further investigate what FoxO3a does in the body, and how this might be modulated to promote myelin production.

How will it help people with MS?

A better understanding of the role of FoxO3a in oligodendrocyte production could help us to learn more about how to promote remyelination and stop MS from getting worse. This study could help to identify targets that could be used for new remyelination therapies.

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MS researcher at work in lab, using a pipette