• Targeting astrocytes to prevent neuronal dysfunctions in Alzheimer’s disease

    Growing evidence points to an essential role of astrocytes in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. Contrary to neurons that are vulnerable to oxidative stress, astrocytes are particularly resistant to mitochondrial impairment and are therefore more resilient cells. By leveraging astrocytic mitochondrial uncoupling proteins, the Jean-Yves Chatton and his team have been able to prevent multi-level dysfunctions in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, including memory deficits. They are now actively engaged in deciphering key mechanisms underlying the broad beneficial effects of this approach on neuronal function. These findings may find applications in several other brain pathologies.

    In vivo MRI of mouse hippocampus. Representative brain T2-weighted images of wild type and a Alzheimer mouse (3xTg) in the sagittal plane. Red lines delineate the hippocampus for further volume quantification. (Right) Examples of reconstructed morphologies from 3D models of analyzed subicular neurons with identified apical (black) and basal (green) dendrites.
  • Regulation of neuronal activity by activation of the lactate receptor HCAR1, a translational study.

    Lactate exerts several metabolic and non-metabolic actions on brain cells while in the extracellular space. Jean-Yves Chatton and his team have discovered that lactate influences neuronal activity by modulating the HCAR1 receptor, without being consumed as an energy substrate, indicating that lactate is also a signaling molecule for neurons via a receptor-mediated mechanism. They have provided evidence for the functional implication of the lactate receptor HCAR1 in mouse, rat, and human neurons of the neocortex, hippocampus, and cerebellum. Their current research goal is to studying how this signaling pathway intervenes in physiological situations, but also in pathologies such as epilepsy and motor disorders. fonction test to identify abnormalities that might arise from the absence of the HCAR1 receptor.