martes, 21 de junio de 2016

Subcortical connectome and neurodegenerative diseases

   El pasado mes de Junio el Grupo de Investigación en Neurociencia Clínica de Madrid invitó al profesor Jeffrey Looi para que nos hablase de uno de sus actuales focos de interés: la identificación de marcadores de neuroimagen que permitan detectar procesos neurodegenerativos.

   Por el interés de su charla compartimos aquí un breve resumen de lo expuesto, en inglés tal y como tuvo lugar la presentación.

    Jeffrey C. L. Looi, professor and psychiatrist at the Department of Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Australian National University, visited the group of Madrid of the Clinical Neuroscience Section of AEN (SNCC) last June to “immerse” us into the concept of the subcortical connectome (see Looi et al., 2014).

Professor Jeffrey C.L Looi
   Professor Jeffrey C.L Looi leads an international and innovative clinical research network for neuroimaging research, the Australasian, US, Scandinavian Spanish Imaging Exchange (AUSSIE) network, focused upon indentifying neuroimaging biomarkers for neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disease. AUSSIE is an active network similar to a connectome that to date has produced significant research, advancing the understanding of neuropsychiatric disease. It is focused around indentifying gaps in the literature, specifically with relation to subcortical brain structures, in order to understand the structure-function-symptom relationships, for the development of future biomarkers of disease, that might be used as surrogate outcomes in intervention and treatment trials.

   From his previous experience in neuroimaging, profesor Looi drove us through the underpinnings of endophenotypes and the study of deep and highly interconnected hubs of the brain such as the striatum, corpus callosum and others. 

   His team parts from the idea that neurodegenerative diseases of ageing, such as Alzheimer disease (AD), neurocognitive disorders/dementias, movement disorders and cerebrovascular disease, have widespread impact on the neuropsychiatric domains of cognition, emotion, behaviour and movement. There is much interest in understanding the neurobiology of these diseases and, accordingly, the neural circuit basis of the neuropsychiatric dysfunction that characterises them. Unveiling these functioning of brain circuits involved, would allow modify therapeutic interventions based on the understanding of the in vivo neurobiology of these diseases.

Ilustr. vía
   A conceptualization of an intermediate phenotype, or ‘endophenotype’, is useful to help understand the pathophysiological basis of manifestations of neurodegenerative disease. Moreover a common neural circuit basis and spatio-temporal course of disruption might be shared accross diferent neuropsychiatric disorders. This is characteristic of the frontostriatal circuits in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) (Looi et al., 2012), and more broadly the cortico-striatal-thalamic circuits, including the striatum, a crucial hub in such circuits (Looi and Walterfang, 2012).

   Looi´s team try to quantify with neuroimaging techniques, neuroanatomical change in psychiatric and degenerative disease, towards establishing endophenotypes. Measuring neuroanatomical changes may be quantitatively mapped, specifically with respect to subcortical structures. The topography of such maps corresponds to the contours of the circuits affected by disease, and accordingly relates to them. Thus, he proposes a vision to investigate the subcortical connectome. Maybe in a near future this knowledge might be extrapolated to other neuropsychoatric disorders.

For more information please read the documents attached,

Rosa Molina