Are red blood cells sending messages and what is the role in MS? - MS Research Australia

Are red blood cells sending messages and what is the role in MS?

Professor Jeannette Lechner-Scott

Hunter Medical Research Institute

| Causes and Prevention | Immunology | Incubator | 2018 | Investigator Led Research |


This project is exploring the inflammatory signals released by cells during MS. Cells can excrete particles known as extracellular vesicles in many inflammatory diseases including MS.  Within these particles, cells package up some of their internal contents including some of their genetic material known as microRNA. MicroRNAs are small pieces of genetic material which are like little switches turning on or off different genes in the cell. It is thought that the particles are sent out by the cells to control genes in neighbouring cells. This project will focus on whether the in MS, the particles from red blood cells might be regulating immune cells and influence the interaction of the immune cells with the brain.

This study aims will count the number of particles in the blood of people with different types of MS. It is expected that in types of MS where there is more inflammation there will be more particles. These particles will then be isolated from the blood and the genetic signals decoded. It is hoped that this may provide critical insights into how individual cells are acting in MS, and also may provide a simple and accessible way to determine disease type and activity. This will allow physicians to distinguish between disease courses and take appropriate treatment approaches. Additionally, it may allow us to understand how extracellular vesicles may be contributing to the pathology of MS, which may lead to the discovery of novel therapeutic targets.

Updated: 15 August 2018

Updated: 02 January, 2018


  • Professor Jeannette Lechner-Scott, Hunter Medical Research Institute


  • Ms Kira Groen, University of Newcastle
  • Dr Vicki E. Maltby, University of Newcastle
  • Associate Professor Lotti Tajouri, Bond University

Grant Awarded

  • Incubator Grant

Total Funding

  • $25,000


  • 1 year over 2018

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Start typing and press Enter to search