Killam Seminar Series: Microglia in Multiple Sclerosis - Pathogenesis and Imaging
Supported by the generosity of the Killam Trusts, the MNI's Killam Seminar Series invites outstanding guest speakers whose research is of interest to the scientific community at the MNI and McGill University.
To attend in person, register (here)
To watch virtually, click (here)
Laura Airas, PhD
Professor of Neuroimmunology, University of Turku, Finland
Host: Roberta La Piana
Abstract: Microglia normally protects the central nervous system (CNS) against insults. However, their persistent activation in multiple sclerosis (MS) contributes to injury. In my talk I will discuss microglia activation in MS and their detection using positron emission tomography (PET). During lesion evolution and the progression of MS, microglia activity may contribute to neurotoxicity through the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, reactive oxidative species, proteases and glutamate. A means to detect and monitor microglia activation in individuals living with MS is provided by PET imaging using the mitochondrial 18-kDa translocator protein (TSPO) ligand. TSPO PET imaging shows increased microglial activation both within the normal appearing white matter and at the edge of chronic lesions. PET-detected microglia activation increases with progression of MS. These findings demand the use of CNS penetrant inhibitors that affect microglia. Such therapies may include hydroxychloroquine that is recently reported in a small study to reduce the expected progression in primary progressive MS, and Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitors for which there are now eleven Phase 3 registered trials in MS.