Investigating the role of platelets in motor neuron disease

Investigating the role of platelets in motor neuron disease

Project details

The project will investigate the role of platelets in motor neuron disease (MND), a neurological disease in which motor neurons degenerate and die. The mechanisms underlying motor neuron death are complex, however neuroinflammation has been identified as a causative factor for motor neuron death. 

Platelets primarily function in clot formation, however it is evident that they also possess roles in other cellular processes such as inflammation. Whether or not the inflammatory pathway in platelets contributes to the neuroinflammation evident in MND is yet to be determined. This novel project seeks to determine if platelets trigger a pro-inflammatory response in MND and whether targeting platelets can rescue the motor deficits evident in MND. Coupled with various methodologies and laboratory models including in vivo models of thrombocytopenia and MND, we will have better mechanistic insight into the role of platelets in MND.

About our research group

Our lab focuses on investigating platelets in health and disease and more specifically how anti-platelet therapy may be used to treat diseases. We have expertise in both platelet biology and MND. We have previously shown that key survival proteins are required to maintain megakaryocyte viability and platelet production. In addition, activation of the apoptosis signalling cascade in megakaryocytes can be triggered in response to chemotherapy and viral infection (Josefsson, Nat Commun 2014 5(3455), Josefsson, J Exp Med 2011 208(10):2017).

Another aspect of the Josefsson laboratory is investigating the role of platelets in cancer progression (Hyslop, Sci Rep. 2017 7(1):14953).


Diane Moujalled profile
ACRF Cancer Biology and Stem Cells

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