Friday, April 29, 2022

Neurology/Neuroscience Research Seminar

12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

CME credit available, click here

Attendance must be registered within 6 months of attendance to be awarded credit.

Recorded archives of live activities are considered enduring materials.

Viewing of a recorded session is for reference only, no CME credit can be claimed.

Virtual event
Meeting ID: 910 4550 7427 Passcode: 829259

“Schwann Cells: A New Hope for Axons”

Bogdan Beirowski, MD, PhD

Axons are the long, fragile, and energy hungry cellular projections of neurons critical for nervous system connectivity. Axons degenerate in a wide range of neurodegenerative conditions including acquired and hereditary forms of peripheral neuropathies, which results in irreversible neurological deficits. Axon degeneration is now believed to be controlled by an ancient auto-destruction pathway that revolves around the regulation of axonal bioenergetics. Current therapeutic strategies specifically directed at the protection of injured axons focus exclusively on neuronal components. In this seminar, I will outline key results that led to our discovery that axons can be also protected through manipulation of energy metabolism in Schwann cells, the glia of the peripheral nervous system. Intriguingly, these glia rapidly sense axon injury and mount a glycolytic injury response regulated by mTOR signaling that stabilizes axons. Importantly, the injury response can be manipulated to modulate axon survival and thus the neurological outcome in models of peripheral neuropathy. We recently found that the novel glial neuroprotective role is fundamentally different from the “repair” phenotype of Schwann cells orchestrated by the c-Jun transcription factor. Finally, I will describe ongoing efforts in my laboratory to understand how Schwann cells sense axon injury and activate and regulate the glycolytic injury response. Together, I hope that these discoveries will encourage the pursuit of new treatment strategies aimed at non-cell autonomous axon protection.