Monash University, Australia: Limiting axonal degeneration

Limiting axonal degeneration in a model of multiple sclerosis

Principal Investigator: Steven Petratos, Ph.D.
Institution: Monash University
Country: Australia
Amount Awarded: €74,326

Nerve fiber damage is thought to underlie progressive disability in MS. This team has been working to understand the biological processes that lead to nerve degeneration. They have found evidence that one protein, Nogo-A, may play a role in this damage, and they have also found a possible strategy for protecting against it. They are now proposing to investigate this further by deleting this protein from nerve cells in mouse models, and then observing the effects starting at the onset of MS-like disease. They will then attempt to block Nogo-A using novel strategies for delivering agents to the brain and spinal cord.

What does this mean for people living with progressive MS?

This study may yield a new strategy for developing a therapy that limits damage to nerve cells and stops the progression of MS.

Project Update

Status: Complete

The group has built upon previous research findings by using cells in mutant mice to study optic nerve axonal degeneration during EAE (an animal model of MS). An affirmed correlation was discovered, and the group set  out to quantify the disease-limiting effects by investigating the NgR1 gene’s ability to directly increase axon degeneration in disease (it’s absence limited axonal damage and subsequent degeneration). It is yet to be determined how the neuroinflammatory response is governed within the axon following demyelination. They demonstrated axonal preservation by re-establishing molecular interactions with the Kinesin motor proteins, suggesting that NgR1 drives axon disorder during inflammatory demyelination.

Principal Investigator: Steven Petratos, Ph.D.

PetratosSteven Petratos, PhD, earned his Bachelor of Science with Honours from the University of Melbourne and his PhD in Pathology from the University of Melbourne. He completed postdoctoral training at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, the Howard Florey Institute both at the University of Melbourne, as well as the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Monash University, with a focus on the neurobiology of demyelination and remyelination. He now conducts research focusing on axonal degeneration in multiple sclerosis as well as the differentiation of oligodendrocytes. His work in the field of demyelination has earned him recognition from Commonwealth AIDS Research Grants Scholarship, Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia Project Grants Faculty of Medicine Monash University Postdoctoral and Senior Research Fellowships, National Multiple Sclerosis Society Research Grants.

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