New Research Grant Announced: Exploring possible role of TGR5 and FXR in autoimmune neuropathy

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Please join us in congratulating, 2019 GBS|CIDP Research Grant Recipient, Betty Soliven, MD for her study: Exploring the possible role of TGR5 and FXR in autoimmune neuropathy

Betty Soliven, MD is a Professor and the Associate Chair for Faculty Affairs of the Department of Neurology at the University of Chicago


There is increasing evidence that diet and gut microbiome regulate the immune function via changes in short-chain fatty acids and other metabolites, but also via altering the bile acid composition in the host. These microbially generated secondary bile acids are signaling molecules that interact with multiple host bile acid receptors. For this pilot study, we plan to focus on a G-protein-coupled bile acid receptor 1 (GPBAR1, also known as TGR5), and type 2 nuclear receptor called farnesoid X receptors (FXR), both of which are activated by bile acids and are implicated in the control of the immune system. Both TGR5-selective agonist and FXR-selective agonist have been shown to modulate the function of monocytes and macrophages, but their effects on lymphocytes have not been as well-elucidated. The goal of this pilot study is to investigate our hypothesis that altered expression or function of TGR5 or FXR could contribute to the pathogenesis or disease progression in Guillain Barré syndrome (GBS) and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP).

Biography, Betty Soliven, MD

Betty Soliven, MD
Betty Soliven, MD

Betty Soliven, MD is a Professor and the Associate Chair for Faculty Affairs of the Department of Neurology at the University of Chicago. She is one of the leading experts in neuromuscular diseases such as Guillain Barré syndrome, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP), other inflammatory neuropathies, myasthenia gravis (MG) and myositis. She is the Director of the Electrodiagnostic Laboratory and EMG/Neuromuscular training program at the University of Chicago. Under her leadership, the University of Chicago has been designated as one of the Centers of Excellence by GBS/CIDP International.

Dr. Soliven has a broad background in neuroscience research, including ion channels, glial biology and animal models of neurologic diseases. Her clinical and research interests have led to interesting publications on glial cell biology as well as pathogenetic and immunoregulatory mechanisms in a spontaneous autoimmune polyneuropathy in B7-2 deficient NOD mouse model and experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG). She and other investigators found that myelin P0 is the antigenic target in B7-2 deficient NOD mouse model where deletion of a co-stimulatory molecule leads to a switch of phenotype from type 1 diabetes to an inflammatory neuropathy mimicking CIDP. In both animal models of autoimmune disease affecting the peripheral nerves or the neuromuscular junction, regulatory T cells and regulatory B cells play an important role in suppressing or modulating the disease severity. Her current research focuses on the potential roles of bile acid receptors in autoimmune neuropathy and myasthenia.

Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Health, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, GBS/CIDP International and Conquer MG (previously known as MG Foundation of Illinois). She has also served as a manuscript reviewer for multiple journals as well as a grant reviewer for NIH study sections, GBS/CIDP International and other funding agencies. She is the Chair of the Medical Advisory Board for Conquer MG and a member of the GBS/CIDP Foundation Global Advisory Board. She is also a member of the American Academy of Neurology, American Neurological Association, American Association of Electrodiagnostic Medicine, Peripheral Nerve Society and Society for Neuroscience.