Eftekhar Eftekharpour, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Physiology & Pathophysiology
University of Manitoba
- Dr. Eftekharpour’s Spinal Cord Injury and Neuroprotection Laboratory
- 600 BMSB
- Graduate Studies
- Graduate studies positions are available. Please contact Dr. Eftekharpour by e-mail to inquire.
- Quest for the Spinal Cord Injury Cure:
The central nervous system (CNS) is inherently susceptible to the traumatic insults, which is primarily due to inefficient repair and plasticity mechanisms. During the early hours to days following injury, neurons and oligodendrocytes undergo an extensive wave of cell death. Depending on the severity of injury, these events may lead to permanent loss of function resulting in disability. My research uses a clinically relevant model of Spinal Cord Injury to investigate the pharmaceutical and cell replacement approaches for the treatment of spinal cord trauma. Currently there are no effective pharmaceutical treatments available for the patients.Collectively, the research in the field of neurotrauma can be divided into two major categories: cell protection and cell replacement. The cell protective approaches aim at preventing cell death by targeting different signalling systems, while cell replacement strategies advocate their endeavour based on the discovery of neural stem cells in the brain and spinal cord. Novel therapeutic ways to enhance neuronal or glial cell replacement from endogenous sources or transplantation of exogenous cells after injury are highly attractive for regenerative purposes. My research on CNS covers both the cell protection and repair approaches.
- Cell protection:
Oxygen and nitrogen free radicals play a central role in cell vital activities through a complex set of reducing and oxidizing reactions altering the function of a wide range of cellular proteins. Under normal conditions, these reactive radicals are balanced by a wealth of antioxidant molecules. After injury, increased levels of free radicals and diminished antioxidative capacity of the cells result in initiation of oxidative stress, leading to initiation of cell death mechanisms. Manipulation of antioxidant systems has been an attractive experimental approach to increase cellular resistance against oxidative damage in many neurological conditions including stroke and spinal cord injury (SCI). Using a range of gene, protein and cell mediated drug delivery approaches we investigate the possibility of modulation of cellular redox regulating system as a target for inhibition of cell death after spinal cord injury.
- Cell Replacement:
Oligodendrocytes are especially vulnerable to the secondary damage mechanisms after trauma and undergo apoptosis. Myelin loss after injury leads to functional and structural changes in axons resulting in functional deficits. As shown by our group and others the exogenously transplanted neural stem and progenitor cells can be successfully differentiated in vivo to functional oligodendrocytes and rectify these deficits which results in improved axonal structure and function in myelin deficient animals and after injury. Understanding the environmental molecular cues (Niche) that affect cell fate and oligodendrogenesis can be potentially important for the fields of neurotrauma and myelin diseases. Using different models of myelin diseases, my research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that can affect oligodendrocyte myelinating capacity.
- Areas of Expertise
- Regeneration and Repair strategies for treatment of Spinal cord injury and Stroke. Pharmacological and Stem Cell Replacement Approaches to enhance neural cell protection, Manipulation of Redox Regulating systems in nervous system.
- Search PubMed for publications by Eftekharpour E
- Md Imamul Islam, Postdoctoral Fellow
- Fatemeh Mashayekhi, M.Sc. Student
- Nagakannan Pandian, Ph.D. Student