Étude de la neuropharmacologie des ganglions de la base


Philippe Huot

Centre de recherche du CHUM


Domaine : Neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme chercheurs-boursiers cliniciens - Junior 1

Concours 2016-2017


Parkinson Québec

The basal ganglia are a group of structures within the brain that mediate a wide range of behaviours, including movement and vision. This research programme will investigate 1) the role of basal ganglia in visual processing in Parkinson's disease (PD), as well as 2) the role of basal ganglia in movement in normal conditions.

1) Visual hallucinations (VHs) are encountered in many patients with advanced PD. VHs have a negative impact on patients' and caregivers' quality of life. Available treatments for VHs in PD are few, their efficacy is limited, and they may lead to very serious adverse events, hence the urge to find more efficacious and safer therapies. The cause(s) of VHs in PD are unknown, but a chemical substance within the brain called "glutamate" might be involved. Project 1 seeks to find new ways to interact with glutamate to alleviate VHs in PD. Experiments will be conducted in an animal model of PD to determine the beneficial effect of new drugs on the severity of VHs. Other experiments will seek to determine the brain areas, encompassing the basal ganglia, where glutamate signalling is abnormal in VHs in PD.

2) Movement is an essential part of everyone's life. Movement is an incredibly complex process and several mechanisms underlying it remain unknown. Project 2 seeks to study the mechanisms whereby a chemical messenger within the brain called "serotonin" participates in movement by interacting with a specific target within the basal ganglia. Experiments will be conducted to further define the role of serotonin in different motor behavioural paradigms. Experiments will also seek to determine the interactions between serotonin and other chemical messengers of the brain, as well as to determine the precise brain localisation where these interactions happen.