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Remote Ischemic Preconditioning to promote CNS remyelination

Principal Investigator:
  • Carlos Camara Lemarroy, University of Calgary
  • Azrieli Foundation

Project Overview

In Multiple Sclerosis (MS), new brain lesions appear because of inflammation and loss of myelin (the structure covering nerves). MS treatments stop inflammation, but can´t repair the damage already done. Repairing myelin might be an effective treatment in MS, but there are no medications available that do this. Our own bodies have ways of repairing myelin. However, these are not working properly in MS. We want to study a new way to improve myelin repair (remyelination).

Remote ischemic preconditioning (or REIP) is not a medication. It consists of blocking the blood flow of a limb (an arm or leg) for short periods of time (using a blood pressure cuff). These short periods of time without blood flow are not harmful, but they trick the body into thinking that harm may be coming. The body then produces substances that could be helpful in the case of real harm. These substances can travel all the way to the brain and could help with remyelination. REIP can be applied in mice by inflating small blood pressure cuffs in the hind limbs. We have performed REIP in mice and have promising results, but we need more information. We want to treat mice with REIP after we cause lesions in their spinal cord by injecting a chemical (under anesthesia). We will test if REIP can accelerate remyelination and change how nerve cells work.

REIP can protect mice brains against stroke. Although REIP has been tested in people with stroke before, no one has looked at MS/remyelination. This is a novel and exciting way to study remyelination that does not involve drugs or medications. Since REIP is safe and easy to do, even in humans, this study could encourage the development of studies to determine if REIP could be helpful for patients with MS.