NEUROAGING – Brain Aging: from cellular models to clinical practice in neurodegenerative diseases

The improvement in life expectancy entails an increase in the incidence of neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) being aging the greatest risk factor for these incurable conditions. Age-related brain changes with age are not well-characterized, and even less is known about the factors influencing the rate of brain aging. The mission of the project is to focus on the biological and environmental factors that underlie these conditions and promote healthy brain aging. The strategy involves highly innovative genetic analysis and in vitro testing using Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells obtained from cells of patients and normal seniors.
In order to provide a higher degree of translation to human studies, we will also focus on biological neuroinflammatory, metabolic, and degenerative biomarkers of the diseases.

Workpackages

  • WP1 Biological multilayer signature of brain aging in neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs) and in the general population through different genetic and genomic approaches and its interaction with exposure to modifiable factors for future prevention interventions.
  • WP 2 Reprogramming of cells derived from healthy donors and patients affected by neurodegenerative diseases in induced pluripotent stem cells to investigate the epigenetic status and correction of the genetic disease through lentiviral vector transduction
  • WP3 Search for biomarkers in liquid biopsies to improve neurodegenerative diseases prognosis and therapy
  • WP4 Ex-vivo models based on human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) and T cells for personalized medicine in Parkinson’s disease
  • WP5 Brain glymphatic system and neurodegenerative disorders: MRI as imaging biomarker

Team

  • Clinical Neurology: Cantello, Comi, De Marchi, Mazzini
  • Genetic Laboratory: D’Alfonso, Corrado, Barizzone
  • Histology Laboratory: Follenzi, Olgasi
  • Immunology: Chiocchetti, Bellan, Cappellaro, Maione, Raineri
  • Neuroradiology: Stecco, Carriero, Negroni

Partnership

Research area: Why do we age, Age-related diseases

Principal Investigator (PI) and CO-PI:

Letizia Mazzini (PI) - Physician at the SCDU of Neurology - AOU Maggiore della Carità
Roberto Cantello (Co-PI) - Associate professor - Department of Translational Medicine – UPO