Multiple sclerosis is inflammatory, autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS). The immune response directed towards cells and structures of CNS tissue causes demyelinization and neurodegeneration, thus inducing various neurological deficits in patients. In majority of patients multiple sclerosis takes relapsing-remitting or chronic progressive course. Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) induced in DA rats is a model of multiple sclerosis and shares numerous immunopathogenic features with the human disease. Still, there is a major difference in the clinical course, as EAE in DA rats is acute monophasic disease. DA rats completely recover from EAE and are highly resistant to further attempts of the disease induction. The main goal of this project is to identify cell populations and molecular mechanisms responsible for the recovery of DA rats from EAE and their resistance to EAE re-induction. Consequently, the obtained knowledge should be useful for improvement of multiple sclerosis therapy.

Modulation of immune response and cell death represents a key strategy in the therapy of cancer and inflammatory disorders such as multiple sclerosis, and diabetes. However, targeting inflammation for therapeutic reasons is very complex, due to numerous underlying damaging pathways. The main goal is therefore to gain insight into control molecular mechanisms of these disorders and, thus, contribute to the design of therapeutics for prevention and treatment of the diseases. It is proposed to investigate the role and mode of action of biologically active microenvironment molecules (cytokines, ROS, NOS, hormones) and genetic factors in regulation of proliferation, differentiation, function, and cell death of immune and target tissue cells, in both physiological and pathological conditions. To establish basic control mechanisms of inflammation, immune response to (auto)antigens and resistance to anti-tumor immune response, the role of relevant intercellular mediators and intracellular signaling pathways, our research will be performed by in vivo and in vitro approaches using animal models of human diseases in inbred and/or genetically modified murine strains, and primary or transformed cell populations of various origins. In addition, cytotoxic, cytoprotective and immunomodulatory potential of various pharmacological agents or natural plant and animal products will be investigated, as well as intra- and intercellular mechanisms underlying the observed biological effects.

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