Étude de la contribution du système immunitaire dans les maladies neurodégénératives et développement de nouvelles stratégies thérapeutiques


Denis Soulet

Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec - CHUL


Domaine : Neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 2

Concours 2016-2017

Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases are incurable neurodegenerative disorders characterized by motor and cognitive dysfunctions that lower considerably the quality of life in patients. The occurrence of a chronic inflammation and neuronal loss is a common feature in these two diseases. Thus, the ultimate goal of my research program is to better understand the inflammatory response in these diseases in order to design new drugs that could promote the good side of the immune response and as a result a better neuronal survival.

In Parkinson's patients, the degeneration of the intestinal nervous system often takes place prior to the motor symptoms and could represent the initiating point of the disease. Therefore, in the first part of my research program, we will investigate the immune response timeline in the gut from mice mimicking Parkinson's disease. Moreover, we will develop and characterize two new progressive models of the disease to study the early events leading to the disease initiation as well as the mechanisms of disease propagation from the gut toward the brain. Moreover, we will validate our results in colonic biopsies from patients.

The second part of my research program is focused on the development of new immunotherapies for Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases. In this regard, we will evaluate the therapeutic repurposing of drugs already approved by Health Canada for the treatment of other diseases. As a result, we expect to accelerate the availability of new drugs to Parkinson and Huntington patients. Thus, we will test the neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties of drugs in various models of these diseases.