Luuk de Vries

Neuroscience Symposium
Verhaagen Group

The Neuroscience Symposia are organized weekly by the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience. The presentations are given by researchers from the institute or by guest speakers. The title and content of the symposium is usually made known in the week prior to the presentation.

Host: Joost Verhaagen

Speaker: Luuk de Vries

4:00 pm  – Title: The molecular basis of resilience in AD

Approximately one-third of elderly individuals remain cognitively intact, despite substantial Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) neuropathological changes. These individuals have been referred to as being resilient or having a reserve to AD pathology and represent an interesting subgroup for assessing the risk for AD and for developing new therapeutics. It has been hypothesized that certain individuals are generally subjected to a similar progression of AD pathology while lifelong experiences, such as more years of education, social interactions or exercise allowed them to cope better with disease-related changes. While a lot of research has been performed using imaging and fluid biomarkers, data on a molecular and cellular basis of resilience in AD remain sparse. In order to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of resilience in AD, we investigated changes in gene expression in post-mortem tissue of the prefrontal cortex of resilient individuals and compared them to AD and control subjects. The most profound changes between resilient and AD donors included changes in mitochondrial functioning and a different glial response to AD pathology. To further characterize the changes that we found in post-mortem tissue, we have altered the expression of specific targets in an animal model for AD for further validation. This may ultimately lead to targets for novel therapeutic treatment.