Is alpha-synuclein a neoantigen for the peripheral immune system in Parkinson's disease?
Universita degli Studi di Varese
Center for Research in Medical Pharmacology, University of Insubria. via Ottorino Rossi 9, 21100 Varese (VA), Italy
Marco Cosentino MD PhD
Dottoressa Natasa Kustrimovic E-mail: Phone: +39 0332217410
Italian, English
4 weeks
Cities/Months Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Augt Sep Oct Nov Dec
No No No Yes Yes No No No No No No No
Type of Research Project
- Clinical Project with Laboratory work
What is the background of the project?
When did the department start working on this project? 2011 Alpha-synuclein (a-syn) has become a major therapeutic target in Parkinson's disease (PD), and clinical trials are ongoing with anti-a-syn antibodies and with vaccines towards a-syn. The peripheral immune system likely plays an important role in the effects of a-syn-based therapeutics, nonetheless very few is known about a-syn and peripheral immunity, although the latter - and in particular CD4+ T cells - is emerging as key contributor to PD pathogenesis.
What is the aim of the project?
This project aims at a thorough characterization of the effects of a-syn on peripheral immunity, as biomarkers of disease progression, pharmacotherapeutic response and/or clinical subtype of disease. Experiments are conceived according to two distinct and complementary hypotheses: (i) that a-syn may act as a neoantigen; (ii) that a-syn may modulate peripheral immunity through antigen-independent mechanisms.
What techniques and methods are used?
Blood sampling, isolation of blood cells and cell fractions (CD3+, CD4+ T cells, Tnaive/memory cells, T regulatory cells, etc.), cell culture, functional assays (proliferation, differentiation, cytokine production, etc.).
What is the role of the student?
- The student will mainly observe
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results . the student will take active part in the practical aspect of the project. the student is allowed to work with the patients - but will not take active part in the clinical examination - use different techniques and devices (e.g. perform echography alone) expected from him during the exchange: prepare a presentation / abstract
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
There is theoretical teaching provided
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- No specific outcome is expected
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
The student must be strongly committed to be involved in a research program and able to work in a team. The ideal candidate should have a strong background in neuroscience as well as in immune system biology and clinics. Knowledge in basic and clinic pharmacology is well accepted. Previous experience in biomedical laboratories will be well preferential but not compulsory. Subjects passed: Human physiology and general pathology Previous experience with: previous experience would be preferred (not compulsory).
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts:
- Medical students
- Graduated students (less than 6 months)
- - Dopaminergic Receptors on CD4+ T Naive and Memory Lymphocytes Correlate with Motor Impairment in Patients with Parkinson's Disease. (Sci Rep. 2016 Sep 22;6:33738. doi: 10.1038/srep33738.)
- - Expression of dopaminergic receptors on human CD4+ T lymphocytes: flow cytometric analysis of naive and memory subsets and relevance for the neuroimmunology of neurodegenerative disease. (J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2014 Jun;9(3):302-12. doi: 10.1007/s11481-014-9541-5. Epub 2014 Mar 29.)
- - The correlation of lymphocyte subsets; natural killer cell; and Parkinson's disease: a meta-analysis. (Neurol Sci. 2017 May 11. doi: 10.1007/s10072-017-2988-4. [Epub ahead of print])
- - Neuroimmunological processes in Parkinson's disease and their relation to α-synuclein: microglia as the referee between neuronal processes and peripheral immunity. (ASN Neuro. 2013 Apr 30;5(2):113-39. doi: 10.1042/AN20120066.)