Modelling multi-factorial neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s diseasedécembre 2015 Directeur(s) de thèse : Erwan BEZARD Résumé de thèse
The aim of this work was to focus on neurodegenerative mechanisms in the context of synucleinopathies, especially on Parkinson’s disease (PD). PD is characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons and the presence of intracytoplasmic proteinaceous inclusions named Lewy Bodies of which α-synuclein (α-syn) is the main protein component. To date, there are no curative treatments. Elucidating mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration in PD will allow the identification of new molecular targets for therapeutic intervention. My Ph.D. work intends multifactorial and translational approaches based on modelling, therapeutic intervention and mechanistic studies. We first focused on the development of new animal models of PD based on the use of viral vector-mediated overexpression of α-syn. This word allowed us to conclude on the absence of additive effect of ageing in α-syn-related toxicity, at least in the three investigated species. Then, we worked on two therapeutic strategies to overcome the lysosomal dysfunction occurring in PD. To do so, we first developed a biotechnological approach based on the use of acidic nanoparticles restoring acidic pH of sick lysosomes, and then we used a gene therapy approach based on the overexpression on a central modulator lysosomal biogenesis. We here demonstrated the interest of restoration of lysosomal physiology. Finally, we tested the “prion-like” hypothesis in a cohort of nonhuman primates and assessed the efficacy of a therapeutic approach using an oligomer modulator in mice. This work highlights the central role of α-syn in PD aetiology and offers innovative strategies for both modelling and therapeutic intervention.
Keywords: α-synuclein, Parkinson’s disease, adeno-associated viruses, animal models, rodent, non-human primate, protein aggregation, nanoparticles, autophagy, lysosomes.