Neurobiology

With an increasing aging population, more and more cases of neurodegenerative diseases are observed. The most common pathologies are Alzheimer, Huntington, and Parkinson disease.

These conditions cause worsening of many of the body's activities, including balance, movement, talking, breathing and heart function. They can be serious or life-threatening depending on their type and there is currently no cure for most of these conditions.

For several years, animal models for this kind of disease have been developed to improve our knowledge about the disease and facilitate the exploration of new markers and efficient treatments. The best way to study this kind of pathology is to use in vivo, preclinical functional imaging, as it is a non-invasive way to study the brain activity. Among the different imaging modalities, the most useful are MRI, PET and SPECT [1]. These methods allow to study, for example, dopamine transporter (Parkinson's disease), beta-amyloid plaques [2] (Alzheimer's disease) or to measure the volume of brain structures. These techniques are also used to study ischemia and brain tumor.

References

  1. Fox at al. Translational imaging in CNS drug development. Molecular interventions, 2009, 9(6):302-13.
  2. Toyama et al. PET imaging of brain with the beta-amyloid probe, [11C]6-OH-BTA-1, in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging, 2005, 32(5):593-600.