Promovendus: D.Y.S. Vogel

Titel proefschrift: Macrophage/Microglia plasticity in Multiple Sclerosis

Promotoren: prof.dr. C.D. Dijkstra, prof. dr. S. Amor
Macrophages and microglia are immune cells which clean up bacteria, viruses and damaged cells. The latter is the reason they play an important role in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and might be the key in finding new therapies. In animal models it has been shown that these cleaner cells exist in two phenotypes; M1 which worsen damage and M2 which lessen damage in sick animals.

The information from the animal models needs to be translated to the human situation in order to work towards using the positive effects of M2 for the development of new therapies. This is why Daphne Vogel researched macrophages and microglia in MS patients. The most important conclusion is that M1-M2 dichotomy does not exist in humans. Human macrophages are more plastic and exist in a spectrum between M1 and M2. Moreover the different methods used by scientist to get macrophages produce different phenotypes. By researching and comparing tissue from brains of MS patients and healthy donors, Daphne Vogel isolated characteristics which help place macrophages and microglia in the M1-M2 spectrum. She then used these characteristics to compare the different phenotypes in the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve of MS patients with controls.

Tests in which the effects of M1 and M2 on damaged cultivated nerves where measured did not show a positive nor a detrimental effect. Considering the findings in this dissertation it’s clear that a lot more research needs to be done before macrophages or microglia can be used to treat MS.