Research project

Unveiling the role of annexin A1 in Multiple Sclerosis: identification of an endogenous factor decoding T cell breach of the blood brain barrier and immune tolerance (DSB.AD001.054)

Thematic area

Biomedical sciences

Project area

Oncologia e Immunologia (DSB.AD001)

Structure responsible for the research project

Institute Experimental Endocrinology and Oncology "Gaetano Salvatore" (IEOS)

Project manager

Phone number: 0817464580


To maintain an optimal brain function the blood vessels in the central nervous system (CNS) form a specialised barrier, the blood brain barrier (BBB), which controls neural cell interaction with other cells and soluble factors. An immune-mediated damage of the BBB occurs in a wide range of disorders, including Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Glucocorticoids, used as first line of intervention in the acute phase of MS treatment, mediate their multiple immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory effects through the induction of many effector molecules, including Annexin A1 (ANXA1).This study aims at investigating the impact of ANXA1 on the molecular events controlling BBB integrity, lymphocytes migration into the brain parenchyma and consequently immune tolerance in MS. This project has four principal aims: firstly, to study the reasons behind the selective loss of ANXA1 in the BBB of MS patients; secondly, to examine whether ANXA1 contributes to an unbalanced T helper (Th) Th1- Th17/Treg cells ratio in MS subjects; thirdly, to assess the capacity of ANXA1 to affect T cell migration into the CNS and fourthly, to test whether treatment with r-ANXA1 can restore BBB integrity and immune tolerance.


Questo progetto ha pertanto quattro obiettivi principali: in primo luogo, studiare le ragioni della perdita selettiva di ANXA1 nella BEE dei pazienti con SM; secondo, esaminare se l'ANXA1 contribuisce all'alterato equilibrio tra cellule T helper (Th) Th1-Th17/Treg nei soggetti con SM; terzo, valutare la capacità dell' ANXA1 di influenzare la migrazione delle cellule T nel sistema nervoso centrale e in ultimo, verificare se il trattamento con r-ANXA1 può ripristinare l'efficienza funzionale della BEE e la tolleranza immunitaria.
Una comprensione completa dell'impatto dell' ANXA1 sulle risposte immunitarie dovrebbe aiutare a sviluppare nuove strategie terapeutiche atte a rallentare o addirittura regredire la SM, attraverso il controllo della tolleranza al self da un lato, e il ripristino dell'integrità della BEE dall'altro.

Start date of activity



Blood Brain Barrier, Inflammation,, Adaptive Immunity,

Last update: 09/12/2023