University of Edinburgh, UK: Cause and consequences of mitochondrial injury

Cause and consequences of mitochondrial injury in progressive multiple sclerosis

Principal Investigator: Don Mahad, M.D., Ph.D.
Institution: University of Edinburgh
Country: United Kingdom
Amount Awarded: €74,868

In MS, myelin, the fatty substance that surrounds and protects nerve fibers, is destroyed. This loss of myelin can affect the function and survival of nerve cells. Some research suggests that nerve cells may die due to damage to tiny energy-producing factories inside the cells, called mitochondria. The DNA that is found in degenerating mitochondria in nerve cells in MS often contains mutations. This team proposes to develop a test to determine the susceptibility to mitochondrial DNA mutations in MS, and will investigate the features of the abnormal mitochondria that result from the loss of myelin. The results from this study may identify ways to protect the nerve fibers and their mitochondria in people with progressive MS.

What does this mean for people living with progressive MS?

If this research verifies a crucial role for damaged mitochondria in MS progression, it may identify new approaches to protecting nerve cells from harm to stop or prevent progression.


Principal Investigator Don Mahad

Don MahadDon Mahad, MD, PhD, MRCP, graduated from the University of Sheffield, UK, and undertook post-doctoral training at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation sponsored by Dr. Richard Ransohoff before returning to do neurology residency and a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellowship in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. He then returned to Cleveland Clinic as a Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Care Physician Fellow at the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis, sponsored by the National MS Society. Dr Mahad is currently a Scottish Senior Clinical Fellow based in Edinburgh, UK. He has a 20% clinical commitment seeing patients with MS at the Anne Rowling Clinic and 80% research focusing on the role of mitochondria in progressive MS.

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