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The Immunology of Blood: Unlocking the Drivers for Neurodegeneration
The communication between the brain, immune and vascular systems is a key contributor to the onset and progression of neurological diseases. The Akassoglou lab identified the coagulation factor fibrinogen as a blood-derived driver for neuroinflammation in a wide range of neurologic diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and brain trauma. Her lab showed that fibrinogen is necessary and sufficient for neurodegeneration and a new culprit for microglia-mediated oxidative stress-dependent spine elimination and cognitive impairment. By developing Tox-Seq, her lab reported the oxidative stress innate immune cell atlas in neuroinflammation. Her lab developed cutting-edge imaging tools to study the neurovascular interface and a first-in-class fibrin-targeting immunotherapy to selectively target inflammatory functions of fibrin without interference with clotting with efficacy in autoimmune- and amyloid-driven neurotoxicity. These findings could be a common thread for the understanding of the etiology, progression, and development of new treatments for neurologic diseases with neuroimmune and cerebrovascular dysfunction.