During progressive MS (pMS), oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) fail to fully mature into myelin producing cells that are required for repair of the damaged nerve cells (remyelination). In order for OPCs to start this repair process, OPCs need to regulate their expression of activators and repressors driving repair. It is thus important that the right regulators are switched on at the time these cells have to mature and produce myelin. The main focus of this project is to investigate whether this switch becomes defective during pMS and whether we can use this as a blood-borne marker for remyelination and future repair-inducing therapies. Moreover, this will lead to an easy and rapid way to predict disease course and thus prevent ineffective treatments of MS patients.
In our project, we aim to identify epigenetic DNA imprints as a marker for ongoing remyelination in progressive MS patients.