McMaster University

Medical Sciences
Graduate Program

Scope of Search

Michael P. Rathbone

Michael P. Rathbone


Research Interests

We are expanding upon our discovery that extracellular non-adenine based purines stimulate cell differentiation, regeneration and prevent cell death; identifying receptors and signalling cascades and applying these to medically-relevant systems, including brain and spinal injury, wound healing and neuroprotection. We also study the interactions of non-adenine based purines and protein cell growth factors.

In related studies, we have discovered that glia from the enteric nervous system enhance regeneration of damaged axons through the central nervous system. We are studying the mechanisms involved and attempting to further facilitate functional regeneration after spinal cord injury.

A wide spectrum of techniques including biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, in vivo studies, cell culture, histology, immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. Collaboration with several groups in Canada, North and South America, Europe and Asia, increases the breadth of approaches used.


McMaster University
Health Sciences Centre

telephone: (905) 525-9140 ext. 22667

Program Area

Physiology & Pharmacology

Research Focus

Regulation of cell growth, differentiation and survival, particularly in the nervous system, in health and disease

Selected Publications

  • Guanosine Protects Glial Cells Against 6-Hydroxydopamine Toxicity.

    Giuliani P, Ballerini P, Buccella S, Ciccarelli R, Rathbone MP, Romano S, D'Alimonte I, Caciagli F, Di Iorio P, Pokorski M. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014 Oct 14. [Epub ahead of print].

  • Guanosine promotes proliferation of neural stem cells through cAMP-CREB pathway. Su C, Wang P, Jiang C, Ballerini P, Caciagli F, Rathbone MP, Jiang S. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2013 Jul-Sep;27(3):673-80.
  • Effects of a novel herbal formulation JSK on acute spinal cord injury in rats.

    Su C, Zhang D, Truong J, Jiang C, Lee S, Jarouche M, Hennell JR, Rathbone MP, Sucher NJ, Jiang S. Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2013;31(5):597-617. doi: 10.3233/RNN-120303.