Appointment of Guadalupe Mengod, Group leader
We are studying the molecular and anatomical events of neuroinflammation in multiple sclerosis, in both cell cultures and animal models, in order to find new therapies for this disease

Current research

Problem

Multiple sclerosis is a degenerative disease of the central nervous system that mainly affects young adults, especially women. It is a cause of significant health burdens, both individually and in the family and community.

It is a chronic inflammatory disease characterised by damage to the axons (the branches of neurons) and a loss of myelin from neurons in the brain and spinal cord. This occurs as a result of infiltration by white blood cells (lymphocytes and macrophages) and results in the loss of neurological functions.

To find new therapies, researchers must understand how this inflammation works.

Approach

The group focuses its work on the analysis of phosphodiesterases, enzymes involved in neuroinflammation.

The group uses cell lines and primary cultures of macrophages, as well as a multiple sclerosis model in mice to find new therapeutic targets to treat this disease. Greater knowledge of the metabolic pathways involved and their alterations will help us identify new drugs capable of modifying the disease’s progression.

Impact

The group has seen that some phosphodiesterases (enzymes that degrade phosphodiester binding in cellular messengers, cyclic AMP and/or cyclic GMP) involved in neuroinflammation are expressed differently according to the sex of the animals.

It has also shown a significant reduction of clinical symptoms when mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis are treated chronically with a phosphodiesterase 7 inhibitor, specific to the cyclic AMP. In the spinal cord of these treated mice changes in the messenger RNA levels of some phosphodiesterases were observed, suggesting a potential treatment for this disease.