Harnessing T cells to remyelinate the central nervous system


  • Dr Denise Fitzgerald

    Queen's University Belfast

Project summary

Myelin, the supportive insulation that wraps around nerve axons in the central nervous system (CNS) is produced by oligodendrocytes. When myelin is damaged in conditions like Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a repair response can be activated. This should result in the maturation of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells into myelin-regenerating oligodendrocytes that re-ensheath axons (remyelination) and restore neurological function. However, when remyelination fails, as is common in MS, patients can develop permanent disability. Recently, immune cells have been implicated in regulation of this regenerative process. However, little is known about the role of T cells in remyelination, despite decades of research into T-cell-mediated myelin damage (demyelination). By combining neuroscience, immunology and regenerative biology, Dr Fitzgerald will determine how different types of T cells influence remyelination, and examine whether the progression of demyelinating diseases like MS alters these fundamental functions of T cells in CNS regeneration.