Deciphering the role of extracellular vesicles (EVs) in multiple sclerosis (MS)

01 October 2018 → 31 December 2022
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund, Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Biological and physiological psychology
    • Cognitive science and intelligent systems
    • Developmental psychology and ageing
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Neurosciences
    • Neurosciences
    • Neurosciences
multiple sclerosis
Project description

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease in which the central nervous system (CNS) is attacked,
ultimately leading to irreversible physical damage. Three brain barriers protect the CNS against
invading organisms and unwanted substances that are circulating in the peripheral blood. The
blood-brain barrier (BBB) occurs along the brain capillaries and separates blood from brain
parenchyma. The blood-cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) barrier (BCSFB) is located at the choroid plexus
(CP), a structure hanging in the brain ventricles, and restricts passage from the periphery into the
CSF. Finally, the meningeal barriers line the outer CNS and separate blood from CSF. The research
group previously found that upon systemic inflammation, the CP can secrete extracellular vesicles
(EVs) that transfer signals to the brain parenchyma. In this project, we investigate the role of EVs
in MS as the lab found an increase in CSF of mice subjected to a mouse MS model. We will study
the cellular sources of these EVs, as they can be produced by barrier, inflammatory and brain
parenchymal cells or they can come from the periphery upon crossing of the brain barriers.
Further, we will analyze their content, identify the recipient cells and study the consequences of
this process. Finally, we will determine the effect of (cell-specific) genetic and therapeutic
abrogation of EV production on the MS disease course. Conversely, we will administer EVs of MS
mice to recipient mice and study the induced effects.