Impact des dysfonctions vasculaires sur les fonctions et le vieillissement cérébral

 

Hélène Girouard

Université Montréal

 

Domaine : Neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme Chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 2

Concours 2016-2017

 

The brain is the organ that depends the most on a constant supply of oxygen and substrates. This organ is thus dependent on a constant blood flow finely regulated by mechanisms that ensure an adequate blood distribution in functions of active regions. This phenomenon is called neurovascular coupling (NVC). When NVC is impaired, the brain becomes more vulnerable to the development of pathologies. The main OBJECTIVE of our projects is to better understand the mechanisms underlying the control of cerebral blood flow in order to develop therapeutical tools to protect the brain.

Our studies divides into two themes:

  • The first one is the study of the mechanisms underlying NVC. NVC depends on the integrity of the communication betwen all cell types of the neurovascular unit (glia, vascular cells and neurons). We thus try to elucidate the communication pathways between these cells.
  • The second theme is the study of the impact of vascular dysfunctions, in particular arterial hypertension (elevated blood pressure), on brain's health. Hypertension is an important risk factor for the development of learning and memory problems as well as strokes in the elderly. These consequences may impair the autonomy of old persons.

       This theme subdivides into three studies:

1) the study of the inflammatory mechanisms that could alter the control of cerebral blood flow in an animal model of hypertension;

2) the study of the role of vascular dysfunctions in the development of Alzheimer's disease;

3) the translation of these models to humain using brain imaging techniques.

These studies will help to develop strategies to protect the brain and improve the quality of life of subjects presenting vascular dysfunctions and the elderly.