Staff Events
Toby Merson

Formation and regeneration of myelin in the central nervous system

The evolution of myelin in vertebrate species was a crucial pre-requisite for the emergence of complex nervous systems. Through its insulating properties, myelin dramatically increases the speed of conduction along axons and provides critical trophic and metabolic support. The loss of myelin is a hallmark of the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS) which leads to progressive axonal pathology and neuronal cell death.

The Merson laboratory seeks to develop neuroprotective therapies for the treatment of progressive MS by optimising the regeneration of myelin following demyelination. To achieve this Dr Merson’s team is studying the mechanisms that underlie the formation, maintenance and regeneration of myelin in the central nervous system.

In this presentation, he will highlight his team’s work on the extrinsic regulation of myelination by neuronal activity and the regenerative potential of distinct populations of progenitor cells in the demyelinated brain. He will also introduce research investigating the mechanisms that coordinate the topographic distribution of myelin in the brain that could facilitate synchronous conduction among populations of myelinated axons. Collectively the research highlights novel approaches to enhance remyelination for more effective treatment of MS and other demyelinating diseases.