RCSI researchers discover new way to halt excessive inflammation

RCSI researchers discover new way to halt excessive inflammation

Please click here to download the article: Mitochondrial arginase-2 is essential for IL-10 metabolic reprogramming of inflammatory macrophages.
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RCSI researchers discover new way to halt excessive inflammationDUBLIN, Friday, 5 March 2021: RCSI researchers have discovered a new way to ‘put the brakes’ on excessive inflammation by regulating a type of white blood cell that is critical for our immune system.

The discovery has the potential to protect the body from unchecked damage caused by inflammatory diseases.

The paper, led by researchers at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, is published in Nature Communications [insert DOI link].

When immune cells (white blood cells) in our body called macrophages are exposed to potent infectious agents, powerful inflammatory proteins known as cytokines are produced to fight the invading infection. However, if these cytokine levels get out of control, significant tissue damage can occur.

The researchers have found that a protein called Arginase-2 works through the energy source of macrophage cells, known as mitochondria, to limit inflammation. Specifically they have shown for the first time that Arginase-2 is critical for decreasing a potent inflammatory cytokine called IL-1.

This discovery could allow researchers to develop new treatments that target the Arginase-2 protein and protect the body from unchecked damage caused by inflammatory diseases.

“Excessive inflammation is a prominent feature of many diseases such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases. Through our discovery, we may be able to develop novel therapeutics for the treatment of inflammatory disease and ultimately improve the quality of life for people with these conditions,” commented senior author on the paper Dr Claire McCoy, Senior Lecturer in Immunology at RCSI.

The study was led by researchers at the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, RCSI (Dr Claire McCoy, Dr Jennifer Dowling and Ms Remsha Afzal) in collaboration with a network of international researchers from Australia, Germany, and Switzerland.

The research was funded by Science Foundation Ireland, with initial stages of the research originating from a grant from the National Health Medical Research Council, Australia.



About RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences

Ranked number one globally for Good Health and Well-being in the Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings 2020, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences is an international not-for-profit university, with its headquarters in Dublin.

RCSI is exclusively focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide. It is among the top 250 universities worldwide in the World University Rankings (2021) and its research is ranked first in Ireland for citations. RCSI has been awarded Athena Swan Bronze accreditation for positive gender practice in higher education.

Visit the RCSI MyHealth Expert Directory to find the details of our experts across a range of healthcare issues and concerns. Recognising their responsibility to share their knowledge and discoveries to empower people with information that leads them to better health, these clinicians and researchers are willing to engage with the media in their area of expertise.

For more information, please contact:

Jane Butler, Senior Communications Officer, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences

janebutler@rcsi.ie | +353 87 7531877

RCSI MyHealth – Living Well with MS – Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

RCSI MyHealth – Living Well with MS – Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

The RCSI MyHealth Series is for people who want to learn more about common illnesses and health-related topics, and how we can improve out personal health and well-being. During this discussion on Living well with MS, the panel will address the clinical aspects of MS, the experience of living with MS, as well as explore the research and treatments available for MS patients.

Panelists include:

  • Dr Lisa Costelloe, Consultant Neurologist at Beaumont Hospital
  • Dr Claire McCoy, Senior Lecturer in Immunology at the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, RCSI
  • Ms Grace Winters, EMEA Finance Director and MS patient

The discussion will be chaired by Professor Steve Kerrigan, Deputy Head of School (Research), School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences

You can register here.

RCSI MyHealth – Living Well with MS – Royal College of Surgeons in IrelandMultiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune condition of the central nervous system that affects approximately 9,000 people in Ireland. During this discussion, the panel will address the clinical aspects of MS, the experience of living with MS, as well as explore the research and treatments available for MS patients.



A link to the discussion will be shared on the morning of the 24 May to watch back at any stage.

MS Masterclass Research Symposium and Public Information Evening

MS Masterclass Research Symposium and Public Information Evening

The Northern Ireland Multiple Sclerosis Research Network are holding an ‘MS Masterclass’ Virtual Research Symposium, on Tuesday 15th June 2021. This event will have both scientific and clinical research content.
There will also be a virtual public information evening on Tuesday 15th June at 6pm.
These events are open to anyone with an interest in Multiple Sclerosis research and affected by MS. Both events are free to attend but require registration.

Please register at:

For further information

Poster Session/short invited talk – submit abstracts by 4th June 2021

Guest speakers include:
Dr Roberta Magliozzi – Assistant Professor, Department of Neurological and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Italy.

Prof Sandra Amor – Head of Multiple Sclerosis Research, Dept of Pathology, Amsterdam University

Dr Martin Duddy – Consultant Neurologist and Clinical Director for Neurosciences, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals

Dr Ruth Dobson – Clinical Senior Lecturer, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary University of London

Dr Imre Lengyel – Senior Lecturer, Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine, Queen’s University Belfast

Prof Basil Sharrack – Consultant Neurologist, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Honorary Professor of Clinical Neurology, University of Sheffield.

Prof Catherine Lubetzki – Professor of Neurology, Sorbonne University and Salpêtrière


Supported by:
Guarantors of Brain,
Wellcome Trust
Queen’s University Belfast
Northern Ireland HSC Research and Development Office


AIMS-RN Summer Studentship Awardees

AIMS-RN Summer Studentship Awardees



I’m Pearse, a 2nd year science student from Belfast currently studying for a BSc in Human Biology at Queen’s University Belfast. I am eager to learn about and engage with challenging, novel research and to work as part of a dedicated team of scientists.

I am delighted to have been successful in my application for this studentship, MS is a devastating disease that affects many people in Ireland and across the globe, including members of my own family. The AIMS-RN summer studentship is an amazing opportunity to be able to work collaboratively with a team of talented researchers who are focused on limiting MS progression through the use of innovative scientific methods.


My name is Niamh Walsh and I am currently in the third year of my undergraduate course studying Human Health and Disease in Trinity College, Dublin. So far, my studies have given me the opportunity to engage in a wide range of biomedical sciences and this has led me to acquire a specific interest in Neurology and Immunology.

I am delighted to have been awarded a summer studentship by the incredible team behind the AIMS research network. The mission of unifying and supporting MS researchers across the island of Ireland is inspirational and I am grateful to have been accepted to be a part of it. I aspire to become involved in the advances that have taken place in MS research within the last few years and I am hopeful that I will pursue a career in this area in the future.




I have just completed my final year of studies in Biomedical Science, specialising in Anatomy in NUI Galway.

My motivation to apply for this studentship stems from my long-established interest in neurodegenerative and inflammatory conditions, as such making Multiple Sclerosis research the ideal intersection between the two disciplines. My dedicated interest in MS specifically, stems from my previous studies of demyelinating disorders which have enhanced my understanding and intrigue, as well as my personal relations to sufferers of this disorder which have played a pivotal role in my reason for application to the AIMS-RN studentship.

I look forward to working with like-minded individuals this summer and am excited to have the opportunity to work with experts in this area of research.


Hello, my name is Melody and I’m an aspiring MS research scientist! I recently graduated from an undergraduate degree in Human Health & Disease and soon I will be commencing a PhD in MS this September.

I applied for this studentship because I wanted to gain as much experience as possible before commencing my PhD. I am very excited to tackle the challenges of my project to gain much valuable insight! I find MS research to be very intriguing, and I am looking forward to delving into this field. 


AIMS-RN Summer Scholarship

AIMS-RN Summer Scholarship

AIMS-RN Summer ScholarshipCoinciding with the launch, AIMS-RN is calling on all budding MS researchers, at undergraduate or early postgraduate level, to apply for the first AIMS-RN Research Summer Scholarship!

Sponsored by Chemical Systems Control, Ltd, following a generous donation from staff members Eamonn Haughton and Declan Smith, the funded researcher will spend time in at least two AIMS-RN member research labs, over a period of 8-10 wees.

“New therapies for MS will be built on state-of-the-art research. Funded junior researchers will spend time in research groups based in at least two of the participating organisations. It is hoped that the seeds sewn by this research will help to bring MS treatments to the next level.” Eamonn Haughton, CSC.

Click here for further details of the scheme and information on how to apply.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Award

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Award

María Muñoz San MartínMaría Muñoz San Martín was awarded the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowship in the 2020 call.

María Muñoz San Martín was trained in Girona Biomedical Research Institute with a specific expertise in the analysis of circulating microRNAs in samples of multiple sclerosis patients to study their potential role as clinical biomarkers.

María will undertake her fellowship under the supervision of Dr Claire McCoy at RCSI, Dr Una Fitzgerald at NUIG and Dr Yvonne Dombrowksi at QUB with a project entitled “MiRNAs as therapeutics for neurorepair in Multiple Sclerosis”. She will carry out this project with the main aim of identifying microRNAs involved in the damage and endogenous repair associated to multiple sclerosis by combining human miRNA data with robust experimental models. In addition, the modulation of selected miRNA expression will be studied as a therapeutic tool to promote neurorepair in mulitple sclerosis.