Wolfram Tetzlaff, University of British Columbia, ICORD, Vancouver, Canada

Role of remyelination in recovery after spinal cord injury

Funded in: 2018, 2019, 2020


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Problem: Loss of function has been in part attributed to the loss of the myelin on the spared nerve fibres

Target: Remyelination process in a genetic mouse model

Goal: To understand the role of myelin repair in locomotor recovery

 

Spinal cord injury (SCI) is often incomplete and a significant number of nerve fibres may be spared. Yet, there are loss of function and paralysis, which have been in part attributed to the loss of the insulating material called myelin on the spared nerve fibres. Myelin is comparable to the plastic that insulates electrical copper wires. Myelin can regenerate in mice and rats (rodents) through a process called remyelination that is mediated by myelin forming cells called oligodendrocytes. The overall goal of this project is to understand the role of myelin repair in locomotor recovery (e.g. walking) after SCI, which in rodents occurs spontaneously. We have developed a novel genetic mouse model to inhibit remyelination after SCI and surprisingly found no effect on functional recovery after moderate severe thoracic contusion injuries. This challenges the validity of rodent moderate contusion models used to test the transplantation of oligodendrocytes cells intended for human trials. Here, we test the inhibition of remyelination in different mouse SCI models to assess mechanisms for recovery in the absence of spontaneous myelin repair. This shall help to determine whether remyelination is a valid target for spinal cord injury Treatment.