Relève étoile Jacques-Genest 
May 2019

Philippe Bourassa

PhD student in Pharmaceutical Sciences
Université Laval

Award-winning publicationBeta-amyloid pathology in human brain microvessel extracts from the parietal cortex: relation with cerebral amyloid angiopathy and Alzheimer's disease

Published in: Acta Neuropathologica


Among the characteristic features of Alzheimer's disease is the abnormal accumulation of amyloid beta peptide, or A-beta, which leads to the development of toxic deposits that cause brain cells to die. Microvessel cells support normal brain function by controlling the entry and exit of molecules including A-beta. However, researchers have suggested that they incorrectly regulate the molecule's presence in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Philippe Bourassa observed a reduction in several proteins involved in the elimination of A-beta and an increase in the main proteins that foster its production in patients' brain microvessel cells. He also noted that these irregularities are associated with the loss of cognitive function. His findings reveal that these anomalies in the brain's microvessel cells contribute to the incidence of clinical symptoms and accumulation of A-beta in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer's disease.