To carry out their activities, Research Teams of the Frédéric Joliot Institute for Life Sciences have developed high-profile technological platforms in many areas : biomedical imaging, structural biology, metabolomics, High-Throughput screening, level 3 microbiological safety laboratory...
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Laboratory | Neurodegenerative diseases | Brain | Medical imaging
This team managed by Philippe Remy, is linked to MIRCen unit "The Neurodegenerative Diseases Laboratory" (UMR9199 CNRS/CEA).
Our team specializes in the use of functional imaging to advance towards two objectives:
This approach is made possible by the use of high-resolution imaging tools, the availability of radiotracers (cyclotron) at the SHFJ and access to cohorts of patients through collaboration with the teams at the Salpêtrière and Henri Mondor Hospitals.
In Parkinson’s disease, markers of dopaminergic neuron loss, the key feature of this condition, have long been used to assess disease progression. We have also studied other phenomena, such as abnormalities of nicotinic receptors, of this disease. We are currently investigating whether inflammatory processes contribute to neuron cell death in this disease, using a tracer likely to provide evidence of such processes in the zones in which neuron death occurs.
We are also exploring the phenotype of subjects carrying a mutation (LRRK2) that may cause Parkinson’s disease, to determine the duration of the preclinical phase of the disease and to identify markers of this phase.
For Huntington’s disease, we use the classical markers of progression of this disease: morphological abnormalities on MRI (e.g. striatal atrophy, figure 1) or decreases in metabolism and in the density of striatal D2 receptors.
We have been involved in analyses of the effect of fetal neuron grafts in a pilot trial on patients with Huntington’s disease (Bachoud-Lévi et al., Lancet 2000, Lancet Neurol 2006, Gaura et al., Brain 2004, figure 2). This work is currently continuing in the framework of a multicenter controlled trial.In the near future, other treatments, such as gene therapy, will be evaluated with these tools.
Similar studies have been carried out for Parkinson’s disease: imaging was used to evaluate neuron grafts in the 1990s, and is now used to explore the efficacy of gene therapy in this disease. However, imaging is also used to assess the progression of the disease with a view to identifying drugs that could slow this process (neuroprotective). Finally, functional imaging can also provide descriptions of the mode of action of treatments based on deep brain electric stimulation of the in this disease (Payoux et al., Arch. Neurol., 2004). This technique can also help to explain the adverse effects of deep brain stimulation, particularly those of a psychiatric nature (Mallet et al. PNAS, 2007).
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.