Programme : Back to Dr Antonella Ragnini-Wilson

A novel cell-based assay to identify compounds acting in central nervous system re-myelination


One of the causes of permanent disabilities in chronic multiple sclerosis (MS) patients is the inability of post-mitotic oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs), that have migrated to lesions, to terminate their differentiation program. Drug repositioning combined with multiparametric phenotypical screening and bioinformatics analyses of the main hits targets is a powerful approach to isolate clinically useful compound(s) and to quickly map their mechanism of action. However, the poor knowledge of the linage specific cellular origin of OPCs recruited at lesions during re-myelination and of the molecular pathways governing the last stages of OPC differentiation in the adult brain, have thus far limited the number of drug screenings performed for myelin regenerative research purposes and therefore novel drugs identification. We genetically engineered a well described immortalized oligodendrocyte precursor cell line in order to bring it to pre-myelination stage and we use it to identify, in the Prestwick Chemical Library® of 1200 FDA-approved compound(s) those promoting myelination. Results obtained support the view that the newly created Oli-neuM cell line is a valid cell based assay fo remyelination studies and drug discovery .
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