Printed Poster | Session 1

077 – Arbour Team: Pushing the frontiers of neuroimmunology for thediscovery of novel mechanisms contributing to multiple sclerosis

Yves Carpentier Solorio (1) – Ana Carmena Moratalla (1) – Marie-Laure Clénet (1) – Negar Farzam-kia (1) – Cyril Laurent (1) – Florent Lemaitre (1) – Annie Levert (1) – Nathalie Arbour (1)
University of Montreal-CHUM, Neuroscience, Montreal, Canada (1)

Our laboratory is focusing on Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a chronic inflammatory and demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). The etiology of this neurological disease remains elusive and no curative treatment is available. Nevertheless, it is well established that the immune system participates not only in the destruction of myelin and neural and neuronal cells but also in repair mechanisms. However, the contribution of specific immune mediators to injury and/or repair remains to be defined. The ultimate goal of our research program is to identify and characterize the immune mechanisms modulating disease development and/or progression in MS patients. More specifically, we aim to identify different molecules that could be targeted for new therapies and biomarkers that could be used for diagnosis. We are currently focused on the study of different cytokines such as IL-15 and IL-27 that have been found to be relevant in MS and in experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE), a mouse model of MS. Moreover, we are investigating possible activating factors of immune effector cells, such as the activating receptor NKG2D. Our research strategy is to first identify molecules/mechanisms that are specifically altered in human samples (blood, cerebrospinal fluid, postmortem brain) obtained from MS patients. Then, we investigate the mechanistic impact of such factors using primary cultures of human immune and CNS cells. These cells are as close as we can get to the in vivo human situation. Finally, using EAE models, we confirm and dissect the role played by these identified mechanisms in the pathogenesis of MS and test in vivo strategies to correct these altered factors and thus validate them as bona fide therapeutic targets. We use various platforms and techniques available in our research center, including flow cytometry, immunohisto/cytochemistry (confocal microscopy, spinning disk) as well as molecular biology. Our ultimate goal is to identify novel tools and targets to fight and stop MS progression.