How can the Mas receptor affect myelin repair?


In MS, the myelin-making cells are mistakenly attacked by the immune system. The body can sometimes repair the damaged myelin. But we don’t fully understand how this works.

The team have already shown that a series of hormone signals normally associated with blood pressure are also important in myelin repair. One particular receiver involved in these signals, called the Mas receptor, is located on the surface of myelin-making cells. When the team activated this receiver with a particular drug, they found it prevented the myelin-making cells from dying.

About the project

This project will investigate the Mas receptor to find out what role it plays in myelin repair. The aim will be to understand how to control the signals it receives to find a new myelin repair treatment.

This is a PhD project and will support one student. The student will use donations from the MS Tissue Bank to learn exactly where in the MS brain the Mas receptor appears. They’ll also use mice with an MS-like condition to find out at what stage in myelin damage and myelin repair the Mas receptor appears. Finally, they’ll investigate what happens to the myelin-making cells of the mice when they remove the Mas receptor. 

How will it help people with MS?

If the team can understand how the Mas receptor affects cells of the brain, they could identify new treatments for myelin repair. 

For example, the drug the team already used to activate the Mas receptor needs to be better understood, but is already approved for use in other conditions. So, it could shorten the time it takes to get this kind of treatment to people living with MS.