Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program(s)
Biomedical Sciences Graduate Programs
Neuroimmune interactions in neurodegenerative and mental disorders - understanding of basic mechanisms and development of therapeutic vaccines
We are interested in the role of immune system in the following conditions:
CNS injury and neurodegenerative diseases - neuronal regeneration, neuroprotection, and neurogenesis.
Models: spinal cord injury, optic nerve injury, brain injury, glaucoma, Alzheimer's Disease.
Mental conditions - cognition, neurogenesis, neuronal plasticity.
Models: age-related dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, Schizophrenia, Depression.
In our lab we are working on the interaction of the immune and nervous systems. Up until recently, scientists assumed that the presence of immune system in the central nervous system (CNS) was a hallmark for undergoing pathological processes. However, new line of evidence supports the notion that immune assistance is required for a better neuronal survival following injury.
Moreover, we found that animals that lack the population of T lymphocytes (T cells) cannot perform cognitive tasks as well as normal animals do and are impaired in adult neurogenesis and neuronal plasticity. On the other hand, boost of immune response (vaccine) improves learning abilities in normal animals and accelerates neurogenesis.
We are trying to elucidate on cellular and molecular levels the mechanism underlying these beneficial effects of immune cells in healthy and diseased CNS. We are also designing vaccines that promote neuronal survival and improve cognitive functions.
Derecki NC, Cronk JC, Lu Z, Xu E, Abbott SBG, Guyenet PG, Kipnis J. (2012) Wild-type microglia arrest pathology in a mouse model of Rett syndrome. Nature. 2012 Mar 18;484(7392):105-9.
Lu Z, Elliott MR, Chen Y, Walsh J., Klibanov, AI, Ravichandran KS, Kipnis J. (2011) A novel phagocytic role for neural progenitors that regulates adult neurogenesis. Nat Cell Biol. Jul 31:13(9):1076-83.
Derecki NC, Cardani AN, Yang CH, Quinnies KM, Crihfield A, Lynch KR, Kipnis J. (2010) Regulation of learning and memory by meningeal immunity: a key role for IL-4. J Exp Med. May 10;207(5):1067-80. Epub 2010 May 3
Lu Z, Kipnis J. (2010) Thrombospondin 1--a key astrocyte-derived neurogenic factor. FASEB J. Jun;24(6):1925-34.
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