Probiotics as therapeutics for neurodegeneration

Many researchers believe that genes, environment, and time each contribute to the onset of late-life neurodegenerative disease like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Epidemiological studies have shown correlations between environmental chemical exposure and neurodegeneration, but no direct relationships have been established. Conversely, there may be environmental factors that suppress or delay neurodegeneration outcomes. The human body is the natural habitat for many microbes, including hundreds of bacterial species referred to as the microbiota. A growing body of work suggests that gut microbiota has a profound effect on human health including for neurodegenerative diseases. Our laboratory uses the nematode worm C. elegans, and its genetic methodologies to model aspects of human neurodegenerative diseases. As part of therapeutic discovery program, findings from our worm model have been successfully translated to preclinical and clinical settings for human neurodegenerative diseases. We discovered a probiotic bacteria strain that suppresses neurodegeneration in C. elegans models of ALS. Using a combination of chemical-genetic approaches we will identify the neuroprotective molecules originating with the probiotic bacteria, and the genes and pathways essential for suppressing neurodegeneration in our C. elegans models. From here, key molecules and genes will be validated in more advanced vertebrate

Audrey Labarre
Superviseur universitaire: 
Alex Parker
Partner University: