Enhancing brain activity to re-wrap nerve fibres
Dr Kaylene Young, Menzies Institute for Medical Research, has been awarded a three year MS Research Australia Project Grant funded by the Trish MS Research Foundation.
· * Developing ways to repair myelin is an urgent unmet need in MS research, in the hope that new therapies might be devised that can reverse progressive forms of MS.
· * Dr Young has recently established that a non-invasive technique, known as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, is able to massage brain activity and increase the production of cells that produce myelin in the brain.
· * Over the course of this project, Dr Young and her team aim to examine whether transcranial magnetic stimulation can induce cells to lay down new myelin and repair existing damage in two laboratory models of MS.
· * In the first year of this project, Dr Young has carried out the transcranial magnetic stimulation one of the models and analysis is underway to determine its effect on myelin production in the brain.
Progress to Date
Over the course of this project, Dr Young and her team aim to examine whether transcranial magnetic stimulation can induce cells to lay down new myelin and repair existing damage in two laboratory models of MS. One model will have a single small focal lesion and the other is a well-established model of inflammatory MS.
In the first year of this project, Dr Young has carried out the transcranial magnetic stimulation on the model that has the single lesion. Tissue from those that received the stimulation will be compared to untreated tissue under the microscope. Tissue preparation is now complete and analysis is underway to determine the number of new myelin producing cells within the lesion site and determine the amount and length of myelin that is generated in response to the magnetic stimulation.
Work has also just begun on the second part of the project which will examine the established model of inflammatory MS.
It is hoped that if these experiments are successful, the transcranial magnetic stimulation may be used as a therapy to repair existing damage in progressive MS and proceed to clinical trials.
Cullen CL, Clutterbuck M, Pitman KA, Senesi M, Tang AD, O’Rourke ME, Rodger J and Young KM. Transcranial magnetic stimulation promotes the survival of new oligodendrocytes and myelin biogenesis by pre-existing oligodendrocytes. In preparation.