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GMSI Award 2015 – Dynamics of M1/M2 polarization of microglia in MS: a PET imaging study

Elga de Vries


This lecture was given at the Grant for Multiple Sclerosis Innovation Awards Event, 8th October 2015. The GMSI award was supported by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Dr. de Vries is an award winner and works at the Amsterdam MS centre, in Amsterdam Free University.

Microglia in MS might have two different phenotypes, according to Dr. de Fries. M1 were pro-inflammatory and neurodestructive and might also be deleterious to neuronal function; M2 were anti-inflammatory and neuro-protective. Visualisation in patients was needed, possibly with PET. It was still unclear how these phenotypes differed during the progression of the disease. The aim of the grant was to develop tools to visualise the M2 phenotype. 

Dr. de Vries said that P2X7 was a purinergic receptor that might be a specific marker for M2 microglia. They were developing a specific tracer for this receptor and were validating it in vitro.  Animal models would be followed by proof-of-concept in human MS patients. It would be examined whether expression of this receptor could be correlated with neuronal dysfunction. Autoradiography would be performed to test for selectivity. The tracer crossed the blood brain barrier. The ultimate goal would be to promote M1 vs. M2.

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