Dana McTigue

Professor, Dept. of Neuroscience
Mentor Faculty


Current Research Description

Ongoing projects include the following: 1) Determine the response of oligodendrocytes and OPCs to spinal cord injury in adults. New oligodendrocytes do not originate from existing oligodendrocytes (which are post-mitotic) but instead derive from OPCs found throughout the adult CNS. Thus, OPCs that survive a spinal cord injury provide a population of cells that could be induced to form new oligodendrocytes. Studies focus on determining intracellular and extracellular mechanisms regulating the response of OPCs to CNS injury. We are particularly interested in interactions between OPCs, astrocytes and macrophages. For this work, we use clinically relevant models of spinal cord injury, genetic fate mapping and transgenic technology to selectively knockout or over-express molecules of interest. The long-term goal is to better understand the cellular biology of the traumatized nervous system and identify potential therapeutic targets to improve recovery.
2) Our macrophage/OPC studies led us to a second line of study in which we are examining systemic responses to spinal cord injury, with a particular focus on the liver. Our new data suggest that spinal cord injury causes long-term pathology in the liver and that liver inflammation feeds back to impair recovery within the spinal cord. The liver pathology is reminiscent of metabolic syndrome, which occurs at a higher proportion of SCI patients compared to the able-bodied population. Studies are examining mechanisms that induce post-SCI liver pathology and how the liver feeds back to impair anatomical and functional recovery.
Areas of Expertise
  • Neurotrauma, Neurological Disorders, and Gene Therapy
  • Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience
  • PhD: The Ohio State University
  • Postdoctoral Training: The Ohio State University

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