Parkinson’s disease: Structural changes in the Brain and in the Autonomic Nervous System
This line of research investigation aims at understanding and monitoring the effects of Parkinson’s disease on the structure of the Brain and of the neurons located outside the Brain - such as cardiac and enteric neurons - using relevant animal models.
Two distinct Parkinson’s disease onset models are used: (i) Chemical Model: MPTP and (ii) Transgenic Model: alpha-synuclein transgenic mice. It is ground-breaking that in some human patients (and in animal models), the onset of Parkinson’s disease can actually be in the neurons located in the heart or in the gut, long before the classical well-known brain-related motor symptoms initiate. Thus, our group also search for the early onset of Parkinson’s disease in the autonomic ganglia in order to find biomarkers for the early diagnosis of this neurodegenerative disorder, where time is really important to tackle this condition.