Multiple Sclerosis, Neuroimmunology, Experimental Autoimmune Encephalitis
Research areas: neuroimmunology, experimental autoimmune encephalitis (EAE), multiple sclerosis (MS), biomarkers in neurological diseases.
Our group is focused in the field of neuroimmunology, including multiple sclerosis (MS) and its animal model the experimental autoimmune encephalitis (EAE).
In EAE, we investigate several transgenic mice associated with modification of the inflammatory profile, in order to evaluate their effect on disease course. One of our major interests is to study the role hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). We recently showed that HGF, a well known neuroprotective factor, inhibits central nervous system (CNS) autoimmunity and prevent EAE development. By the mean of transgenic mice overexpressing HGF in the CNS, we demonstrated that this effect is mediated through an induction of tolerogenic dendritic cells and Foxp3+ regulatory T cells as well as an induction of a strong T-helper cell type 2 cytokine bias. Our results suggest that, by combining both potentially neuroprotective and immunomodulatory effects, HGF is a promising candidate for the development of new treatments for immune-mediated demyelinating diseases associated with neurodegeneration such as MS.
In MS, we investigate the mechanism of action (MoA) of disease-modifying therapy such as Glatiramer acetate (GA), Interferon beta and Cladribine. We recently showed that GA had an effect on naïve T cells and triggers monocytes toward a less inflammatory pattern through the IL-1/IL-1Ra system. We also investigate the potential neuroprotective effect of IFN-beta via the measurement of neuroprotective factors secreted by inflammatory cells. In addition, we recently initiated a prospective study on the MoA of Cladribine in MS patients, a new oral therapy for MS. Finally, we have a particular interest in defining and validating new biomarkers that may be useful for MS and other inflammatory diseases of the CNS. We are currently investigating IL-6 and NF-L in the cerebrospinal fluid of MS patients and also develop new proteomic approaches to examine the CSF of patients with demyelinating diseases of the CNS.