Circulating microparticles in neurodegenerative diseases

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
Medicine and Radiology
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Group Leader Email Number Webpage
Dr Ben J Gu 0390356317 Personal web page
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof. James S. Wiley 0383446386 Personal web page

Project Details

Emerging evidence has shown that activated platelets in the circulation mediate inflammatory effects through release of extracellular vesicles including exosomes (<100 nm) and microparticles (100-1,000 nm). Microparticles are membrane bound bodies released from multiple cell types and they carry various cargo (RNA, cytokines, chemokines, enzymes) that participate in cell to cell communication. We have found elevated circulating microparticle counts in MS patients, especially large microparticles (>200 nm) positive for MitoTracker Green staining. We also found that both platelets and extracellular microparticles express functional P2X7 receptor (P2X7, an ATP gated ion channel mediating proinflammatory responses and scavenger activity) on their surface. In this study, we will develop and optimise the method to accurately quantitate the different types of circulating microparticles, examine the linkage between circulating large microparticles and relapse of multiple sclerosis (MS), understand how these microparticles are released, what they contain, and the pathogenesis potential.   The study will provide novel insight on the pathogenesis of the acute MS relapse and other neurodegenerative diseases involving neuroinflammation. The easy assay for large mitochondria-containing microparticles in human plasma may prove to be a biomarker of the risk of acute relapse of MS, which may aid in the choice of different treatments and help the search for more potent and reliable therapies in MS.

Techniques involved are flow cytometry, ELISA, western blotting and cell culture.

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology, Neuroscience

School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


Medicine and Radiology

Research Node

Royal Melbourne Hospital

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