Myelin Regeneration in Multiple Sclerosis: Re-covering the Bare Wires

We are interested in the public dissemination of our research activities. In this section, we aim to explain our research topic in a lay language, reachable for a broad public spectrum and for professionals from different backgrounds. Additionally, here we aim to reach patients suffering from multiple sclerosis or any patient undergoing other pathology and might find our research interesting.
Remyelination – “Restoring the Plastic Coating around Bare Wires” for Proper Electrical Transmission in the Brain

In our daily lives, we rely on plastic-coated wires to ensure proper electrical transmission. Now, imagine those wires without their plastic protective coating. Electric transmission would be disrupted leading, most likely, to functional failure. Similarly, in our brain, the myelin sheath serves as this crucial “plastic coating” around the neuronal axons (wires). When myelin is lost (demyelination), the electrical conduction is disrupted and neurons die, leading to a progressive decline in neurological function. The "good news" is that damaged myelin sheaths can be restored through a regenerative process known as remyelination. This process restores the proper electrical conduction along nerves, allowing for functional recovery. 

Boosting Remyelination for the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis – Revealing the Secrets of Blood Vessels and Platelets

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that provokes myelin loss, leading to motor and cognitive deficits. MS symptoms include double vision, odd sensation in arms and legs, weakness, fatigue, difficulty coordinating movement, memory loss, cognitive disruption, among others. MS affects over 2,5 million people. Finland has one of the highest MS prevalence worldwide, being 180-200 per 100,000 inhabitants. Unfortunately, remyelination fails during MS, and current treatments have limited efficacy and display side effects. All these therapeutic strategies pretend to avoid further myelin damage; however, they lack reparative activity.

Our research efforts aim to understand how remyelination works and why it fails during MS. Based on previous studies and our preliminary findings, we propose blood vessels and circulating platelets as unexplored sources of cues that contribute to remyelination (1) and/or its failure in MS (2). Additionally, we aim to identify the potential of natural compounds derived from plants growing in extreme climate conditions (such as the dessert) to promote myelin repair (4a). Revealing these enigmas will “pave the way” to design regenerative therapies for MS treatment (3 and 4b).