Merel Rijnsburger, Multiple Sclerose (MS) researcher at Amsterdam UMC, received the grant for MS innovation (GMSI) by Merck. With the 350.000 euros funding Rijnsburger will continue to study the role of adipokines in MS.

Recent clinical data indicate that a rise in body weight enhances the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) about ~40%, which suggests that accompanying metabolic and immunological alterations promote disease pathogenesis. 

However, the underlying mechanisms of this association remain largely unknown. Data by amongst others the group of Merel Rijnsburger and her colleagues strongly suggest that an imbalance of pro- and anti-inflammatory adipokines, a class of cytokines released by the white adipose tissue, plays a pivotal role in the immunological and pathological processes related to MS.

Their main goal is to unravel how adipokine mechanisms are orchestrated in MS, to get new perspectives on disease pathogenesis and provide novel diagnostic and therapeutic opportunities. 

Better understanding of the role of adipokines in MS is an important step forward in establishing a personalized blood-based biomarker panel for disease progression, but also towards a novel strategy to modulate neuro-inflammatory and degenerative processes ongoing in MS.