Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period

2-1-2017

Degree Program

Molecular & Cellular Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

2016

Month Degree Awarded

September

Advisor Name

Barbara

Advisor Middle Initial

A

Advisor Last Name

Osborne

Co-advisor Name

Lisa

Co-advisor Last Name

Minter

Third Advisor Name

Pablo

Third Advisor Last Name

Visconti

Abstract

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative autoimmune disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Although the exact cause of MS is unknown, it is clear that CD4+ T helper cells play a significant role, namely T helper 1 (Th1) and T helper 17 (Th17) cells. The Notch family of proteins plays a role in the development and differentiation of T helper cells. Previous data has shown that inhibition of Notch impairs the ability of T helper cell differentiation. Additionally specific inhibition of certain Notch members inhibits specific T helper cell differentiation, for example the inhibition of Notch 1 inhibits Th1 and iTreg polarization [Samon et al., 2008]. However, the effects of the other Notch family members on CD4+ T cells are not fully studied. We propose that Notch 3 plays an extensive role in the regulation of Th1, Th2, Th17, and iTreg polarizations. In addition, we propose that Notch 3 regulates function of T helper cell function in the mouse model of MS, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Data in this thesis show that Notch 3 plays a significant role in the polarization of Th1, Th17 and iTreg polarization [Karlsson et al., 2011]. We present evidence that the heterozygous and homozygous Notch 3 knockout exhibits a significant decrease in polarization toward Th1, Th17 and iTreg cell fates.

Exopolysaccharide (EPS) is a compound that has been previously shown to play a protective role in other inflammatory diseases. EPS has been shown to produce anti-inflammatory macrophages. We propose that a similar anti-inflammatory effect might be possible in EAE. We found that EPS had a significant effect on EAE induction, decreasing the onset and peak disease score. EPS also reduced the concentration of IFN-γ, IL17A, and GM-CSF in the supernatants of the splenocytes after restimulation with MOG. Further experimental data is needed to prove the effects of EPS on EAE and the method by which EPS function. These data indicate that Notch 3 could be crucial in regards to EAE due to the effects on Th1 and Th17 which are instrumental in EAE induction [Raphael et al., 2015].

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