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Dr Merel Rijnsburger

Department Of Molecular Cell Biology And Immunology, MS Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Amsterdam UMC, The Netherlands


Metabolic alterations as a driving force in multiple sclerosis

Merel Rijnsburger is a neuroimmunology researcher in the Department of Molecular Cell Biology and Immunology, MS Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC. Dr Rijnsburger will be collaborating on her research project with her colleague, Elga de Vries, who herself was a winner of a GMSI grant in 2015. They will investigate metabolic alterations as a potential driving force in MS.

Obesity can increase the risk of developing MS and can increase clinical disability related to MS. It is possible that an imbalance of pro- and anti-inflammatory adipokines may play a pivotal role in the immunological and pathological processes related to MS.

Dr Merel Rijnsburger will examine the adipokine signature in samples from a well-defined MS patient cohort and matched controls to examine correlations with metabolic parameters, blood biomarkers of inflammation/neurodegeneration, MS duration since first symptom onset, magnetic resonance imaging parameters (atrophy rate), and clinical disability. Changes in adipokine signature over time will be assessed in a second cohort of MS patients who provided samples every 5 years for 15 years to determine if there are any differences between rapidly progressive and less progressive MS. To determine how adipokines affect immune function, peripheral blood mononuclear cell samples from the defined MS patient cohort will be treated with adipokines in vitro to examine the impact on chemokine and cytokine secretion, as well as transendothelial migratory capacity. The impact of adipokines on post-mortem brain tissue samples from people with MS patients and from cell cultures of microglia and astrocytes will also be assessed.

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