Le rôle de NKG2D dans la sclérose en plaques

 

Ana Carmena Moratalla

Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal

 

Domaine : neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme Formation de doctorat

Concours 2018-2019

Partenaire :

Société canadienne de la sclérose en plaques

Several studies showed that the immune system contributes to the development of multiple sclerosis (MS). Normally, the immune system defends the body against foreign elements. However, in the case of MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath surrounding our neurons, called myelin, and impairs several essential functions of brain cells. Our team investigates how immune cells hurt brain cells of MS patients. Stressed brain cells can put on their surface alert molecules that are subsequently detected by white blood cells carrying a receptor called NKG2D. The NKG2D-bearing immune cells can recognize and kill cells carrying these alert molecules.

I observed that white blood cells from MS patients carry a greater amount of NKG2D compared to those from healthy donors. I will investigate whether these immune cells from MS patients can cause more damage to brain cells. I also observed that some human neurons but also other cells called astrocytes (which are important to maintain neurons' health), express these alert molecules. My project will evaluate whether blocking the detection by immune cells via NKG2D could prevent harmful attack on neurons and astrocytes. I will also evaluate whether neurons and astrocytes carry these alert molecules in brains obtained from deceased MS patients.