CORDIS
EU research results

CORDIS

English EN
Myelinic nanochannels in neurodegenerative diseases

Myelinic nanochannels in neurodegenerative diseases

Objective

Myelin is made by highly specialized glial cells and enables fast axonal impulse propagation. We have
discovered that oligodendrocytes in the CNS are, in addition to myelination, required for the integrity and
survival of axons, independent of the presence or absence of myelin itself. More recently, we found the
underlying mechanism and could show that glycolytic oligodendrocytes provide axons with pyruvate/lactate.
These metabolites are transported through a system of myelinic nanochannels to the axonal compartment, in
which mitochondria generate ATP. The finding was a paradigm-shift for the physiological function of axonassociated
glia, and opens now the intriguing possibility that oligodendrocytes are important modifiers of
neurological diseases in which myelinated axons are lost. This includes, in addition to multiple sclerosis, also
classical neuropsychiatric disorders. We will generate novel genetic tools in mice that allow us to study the
role myelin and secondary axonal loss in higher brain functions. We will test the challenging hypothesis that
reducing oligodendroglial support of axonal metabolism is a risk for differen neurodegenerative disorders.
These involve the previously neglected ultrastructure of CNS myelin with cytosolic (20-300 nanometer
wide) channels within the myelin sheath. These 'nanochannels' couple the oligodendrocyte soma
metabolically to the adaxonal space, but are vulnerable to aging and physical injury. We hypothesize that
cellular mechanisms as diverse as neuroinflammation and the aggregation of misfolded proteins in myelinic
nanochannels cause perturbations of the axonal energy metabolism. When combined, the findings of
MyeliNANO will shed new light on previously unknown functions of CNS myelin and will pave the way for
metabolic neuroprotection as a therapeutic approach to a range of neurodegenerative diseases.

Host institution

MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN EV

Address

Hofgartenstrasse 8
80539 Munich

Germany

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 2 500 000

Beneficiaries (1)

Sort alphabetically

Sort by EU Contribution

Expand all

MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN EV

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 2 500 000

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 671048

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 April 2016

  • End date

    31 March 2021

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 2 500 000

  • EU contribution

    € 2 500 000

Hosted by:

MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN EV

Germany