Last year, for the first time, the DZNE Foundation announced a prize for the best single scientific publication from the DZNE Munich: Publications by first authors from basic, clinical, epidemiological or health care research at DZNE Munich could be submitted for the Best Paper Award 2022.
The papers should have been published in international peer-reviewed journals within the last 12 months prior to the call for papers and should have provided decisive impulses on pathogenesis, diagnosis, therapy or care of patients with neurodegenerative diseases.
Basis for novel protective therapies in multiple sclerosis
The announcement of the award winner and the award ceremony recently took place at the DZNE Munich: The prize for the best publication, endowed with 1,000 euros, was awarded to molecular biologist Garyfallia Gouna (research group Prof. Mikael Simons) for her paper "TREM2-dependent lipid droplet biogenesis in phagocytes is required for remyelination", which was published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.
In some neurological diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, damage occurs to brain and spinal cord tissue (central nervous system) resulting in inflammation and destruction of the sheath that surrounds the nerve fibers. This sheath is called ‘the myelin sheath’, consists primarily of lipids (the body's own fats) and, in addition to protecting the nerve fibers, ensures that signals in the nervous system are transmitted quickly. If the myelin sheath is destroyed (myelin debris) by pathological conditions, a repair process follows, which attempts to reestablish tissue function and resolve the inflammation by clearing the damaged myelin debris. However, within the central nervous system, persistent and sometimes even progressive neurological deficits remain. Microglia, the immune cells of the central nervous system, help in the clearance of the damaged myelin debris, contributing in the regenerative process, which is called remyelination.
Garyfallia Gouna and colleagues have now discovered that, during remyelination upon injury , microglia generate a storage compartment of lipids, the ‘lipid droplets’ organelles. Lipid droplets facilitate the repair process by offering a protective environment, in which damaged lipids can be stored safely and inflammation is resolved. TREM2 protein, a specific protein of microglia, is essential for the formation of sufficient amount of lipid droplets. Therefore, Gouna and colleagues’ findings provide the basis for novel protective therapies that target TREM2 in the regenerative process.''
The award was decided by a jury of international experts. The funding is provided by a donation of 5,000 euros, which is specifically designated for research at the Munich site. Within the next four years, the Best Paper Award of the DZNE Foundation will therefore be awarded once a year at the Munich site.
The next call for the Best Paper Award at the Munich site will take place in the fall of 2023.