As part of $2 million in grants by GLA to top researchers at leading academic and medical research institutions across the U.S., a group of UND School of Medicine and Health Science researchers are now spearheading a study aimed at determining how symptoms can persist in patients who should be cured.   The funded study is intended to build a better understanding of persistent brain inflammation, a prominent feature of Lyme disease.

The question of the exact nature of an epigenetic shift in brain cells called astrocytes, which play an important support role in the blood-brain barrier, a structure that coats the brain and acts as a sort of molecular bouncer, regulating the movement of nutrients and other substances into the brain, rests at the center of the UND study.

“We know there are these changes taking place, so now we’re trying to find exactly what those are,” said Brissette.

The first step of the grant process is dedicated to producing those kinds of findings. Once the epigenetic processes are more clear, the research team will shift to studying how the neuroinflammatory symptoms of PTLDS (post treatment Lyme Disease syndrome) can be better treated in the future.