Neuro Inflammation


(left to right : Paul Heuschling, Luc Grandbarbe, Paul Felten, Tony Heurtaux, Audrey Gustin)

The Neurobiology group is investigating the molecular mechanisms of inflammation and differentiation of glial cells that are relevant during neurodegenerative and inflammatory events of the brain. Three major projects are currently being developed in the lab:

(1) Astrocyte differentiation, maturation and phenotype acquisition (PI: Luc Grandbarbe): Astrocytes are a heterogenous cellular population of neuroectodermal origin and are essential for brain homeostasis and neuronal function. The objective of this project is to characterize the different states of astrocytes (mature/immature) and to investigate the possible link between the state of maturity and the different phenotypes of astrocytes observed in the brain.

(2) Glial reactivity in a Parkinson’s disease-like context (PI: Tony Heurtaux): α-synuclein overexpression can be associated with Parkinson's disease (PD). This project focuses on the activation process of glial cells (astrocytes and microglia) after exposure to different forms of α-synuclein, the wild type form (a-syn) as well as 3 mutated forms (A30P, A53T, E46K), associated with the early onset form of PD.

(3) Inflammasome function in neuroinflammation: a role for microglia in PD (PI: Catherine Dostert): IL-1ß, a major cytokine whose production is regulated by a complex termed the inflammasome, is known to be involved in neurodegenerative diseases. We propose to study inflammasome activation and function in microglia. To further characterize the importance of IL-1ß and the NLRP3 inflammasome in PD, animal models will be of great importance. A metabolome analysis of NLRP3 inflammasome activation in macrophages and microglia will be performed.