Rôle de la réponse immunitaire dans le maladie de Parkinson et d'Huntington et applications thérapeutiques

Chercheurs boursiers - Junior 1 | Concours 2012-2013

Denis Soulet

Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l'Université Laval (CRCHUQ-CHUL)


Domaine : Neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases are incurable neurodegenerative disorders characterized by motor and cognitive dysfunctions that lower considerably the quality of life of patients. As a common feature of these two diseases, the neuronal survival in the brain is strongly affected by chronic inflammation. Since the immune response has beneficial and detrimental effects on neurons, 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 contribute to the progression of the disease. Therefore, in the first part of my research program, we will investigate the immune response in the gut from mice mimicking Parkinson¿s disease. The second part of my research program is focused on Huntington's disease, a genetic disease caused by a mutation in the huntingtin gene. In this project, we will study how the mutant huntingtin alters the immune response in immune cells from patient's blood and in cell culture.

This research program aims at better understanding Parkinson and Huntington's diseases in order to discover new therapeutic targets and to design new clinical tests to provide a better diagnostic of the disease progression. Moreover, in vivo and in vitro models developed during this research program could provide new test platforms to assess the activity of new drugs.