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Sapere Aude grant to Nathalie Van Den Berge

Assistant Professor Nathalie Van Den Berge from Department of Nuclear Medicine & PET-Centre at Aarhus University Hospital has received a Sapere Aude Research Leader grant from Independent Research Fund Denmark for the project: "Early identification of parkinson's disease subtypes".

In Parkinson's disease (PD), the pathology can propagate along the brain-body axis, affecting multiple  organs along the way. Recent evidence indicates the existence of two subtypes: a body-first or a brain-first subtype. The place where the very first pathology arises (in the body (usually the gut) or in the brain), appears to determine the sequence of organs and symptoms involved during disease development. The peripheral organs are affected prior to the brain in the body-first type, and the opposite occurs in the brain-first subtype. Furthermore, the cellular environment affects the morphology of the pathology, which is associated to disease severity. And, the cellular environment in the gut is very different from the one in the brain. Hence, I hypothesize that both the location of the initial pathology and pathology morphology are interdependent determinants of the clinical and histopathological profile of PD subtypes. This hypothesis is the basis of the project, as I aim to develop animal models of body-first and brain-first PD subtypes that include the stepwise involvement of multiple organs from early to late disease stages. I will also study subtype-specific differences in the pathology morphology in easy accessible peripheral tissues or fluids to identify early disease indicators. Identification of the different PD subtypes in early stages of the disease will eventually enable personalized medicine, which will be especially beneficial in the body-first subtype where damage in the brain is still limited at early disease stages.

Read more about the project at: