Disease Models and Biomarkers

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disorder and a leading cause of dementia in the industrialized countries. Significant strides toward a better understanding of the disease mechanisms and toward the development of novel therapeutic approaches have been supported by the use of transgenic mouse models of AD. A major focus of our research lies on the elucidation of neurovascular and brain-immune pathogenic mechanisms in mouse models of cerebral beta-amyloidosis. Transgenic mouse lines expressing specific familial AD mutations are used to study the role of immune and vascular-related factors in the evolution and progression of cerebral beta-amyloid pathology and to investigate the downstream effectors of amyloid-beta peptide-induced toxicity including cognitive and vascular dysfunction in vivo. The knowledge gained from this research is applied in a translational approach to identify and validate novel disease biomarkers in human biological fluids, which may promote earlier diagnosis and lead to more effective treatments for patients at risk of developing AD dementia.

Group: 1 Group Leader, 1 PhD Student, 1 Master Student

Funding: Forschungskredit UZH, EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Research (JPND), Hartmann Müller-Stiftung, Hermann Klaus-Stiftung, Velux Foundation, Synapsis Foundation

Activation of microglial cells
Activation of microglial cells (red fluorescence; arrowheads) around an amyloid-laden blood vessel (arrow; green fluorescence) in the cortex of an APP transgenic mouse model lacking functional adaptive immune cells.