Category: Assay Development and Screening

1125-A - Identifying small molecules that stimulate glial cells for spinal cord repair

Monday, February 5, 2018
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

In the U.S., approximately 282,000 people live with a spinal cord injury and 17,000 new cases are reported every year. Glial cells have been used as promising candidates for cell-based therapies in neural repair. However, low cell proliferation and slow cell migration reduce the integration of transplanted cells into the injury site leading to diminished neural regeneration. Growth factors can enhance cell activity, but they can also induce side effects as they can act on numerous cell types. An alternative approach is to identify small molecules that more selectively activate specific cell functions. We have previously shown that natural products, such as curcumin or linckosides, have exhibited a stimulating effect on glial cells. Indeed, these compounds are able to improve important neural repair therapeutic properties including proliferation, migration and phagocytic activity of glial cells. The development of a new robust and sensitive method for high throughput screening to identify biologically interesting small molecules stimulating glial cells is consequently essential. We have utilised a 384-microplate format, automated liquid handling robotics and high-content screening platforms to reduce well variability and increase assay robustness to determine the effects of compounds on olfactory ensheathing cells. The identification of new small molecules that have the capacity to stimulate glial cells could improve therapeutic outcomes for neurological diseases in which these cell types are used.

Marie-Laure Vial

Research Fellow
Clem Jones Centre for Neurobiology and Stem Cell Research, Griffith University
Southport, Queensland, Australia

Marie completed her degree in 2009 at the University of Toulouse (France) and her Masters of Plant Biotechnology at the University of Lyon (France) in 2011. In 2011, Marie joined the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (formerly Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery) (Griffith University, Australia) for a 6 month internship. She worked on the isolation and structure elucidation of natural products from plants belonging to genus Eremophila. She then completed her PhD in June 2016, focusing on the development of a multidimensional cytological profiling of natural products on a Parkinson’s disease patient-derived cell line. In 2016, Marie joined the Clem Jones Centre for Neurobiology and Stem Cell Research and she is currently working on developing a high-throughput screening to identify small molecules stimulating glial cells for spinal cord repair.