Alpha-synuclein-induced Astroglial Inflammation as a Trigger of Parkinson's Disease
Target Validation Awards, 2016
Astrocytes are important cells in the brain. They play a major role in brain inflammation and neurodegeneration; however, their role in Parkinson's disease (PD) is unclear. The protein alpha-synuclein, which is associated with PD pathology, can trigger the reactivity of astrocytes. The goal of the project is to understand the molecular and functional consequences of alpha-synuclein-induced astrocyte reactivity and inflammation in experimental models of PD.
We hypothesize that brain inflammation plays an important role in PD, acting either as a trigger of the disease or as a modulator of its progression, and that it is in part mediated through alpha-synuclein-astrocyte interactions.
We will differentiate induced pluripotent stem cells ("man-made" stem cells that can become different types of cells) generated from individuals with familial and idiopathic PD into astrocytes. We will then treat the astrocytes with chemical stressors and alpha-synuclein and examine the molecular and functional changes triggered by the treatments.
Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson's disease:
The project will allow us to clarify the role of astroglial reactivity and inflammation and gene-environment interaction as a potential trigger of familial and idiopathic PD.
Next Steps for Development:
Our work may lead to the identification of new disease pathways, which could be targeted for neuroprotection, and identify astrocytes as a new therapeutic target for PD.
Group Leader. Associate Professor at University of Lund
Location: Lund, Sweden