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The primary focus of the Koronyo-Hamaoui Laboratory is on early diagnosis and immune-based therapies for Alzheimer's disease (AD). A feasible noninvasive test to identify patients early on, which is essential for effective treatment, is an urgent unmet need. The Koronyo-Hamaoui Laboratory has shown, for the first time, that the hallmark pathology of AD, amyloid-β protein (Aβ) plaque, is present in the retina of human patients beginning at early stages. Furthermore, a unique approach has been developed in this lab to detect plaques in the retina of live rodent models by a noninvasive optical retinal imaging. This innovation unveils new possibilities for investigation of Alzheimer's pathology in the retina. It may also facilitate early diagnosis and noninvasive monitoring of disease progression.
A large body of evidence accumulated over the past years suggested that the peripheral immune system plays a critical role in repair and regeneration of the central nervous system. This lab has demonstrated that harnessing peripheral immunity in murine transgenic models of AD via immune-modulating antigens, such as glatiramer acetate and MOG45D loaded on dendritic cells, stimulated recruitment of monocytes to the brain. This immunization approach leads to a reduction of harmful inflammation, toxic Aβ and scar tissue pathology, while restoring neurogenesis and cognitive functions. The lab further explores possibilities of utilizing inflammatory monocyte enrichment and the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) overexpression in monocytes to counter AD progression. The Koronyo-Hamaoui team seeks to further identify and characterize new immunological mechanisms that help attenuate AD progression.
First-ever In Vivo Noninavasive Detection of Individual Aβ Plaque Dynamics: Retinal Optical Imaging of Curcumin-labeled Plaques following Glatiramer Acetate Immune-Modulation treatment (Koronyo et al. Neurodegener. Dis. 2012)
A wide range of leading and traditional laboratory techniques are being applied. Among them are molecular genetics and quantitative gene expression analyses, protein expression and structural assessments, primary brain and immune cell culture assays, advanced confocal microscopy, and techniques involving live animals (such as behavioral/cognitive testing, immunizations and adoptive transfer of bone marrow-derived monocytes, and in vivo optical imaging of retina and brain).
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From left to right: Dieu-Trang (Sandrine) Fuchs, MSc; Altan Rentsendorj, PhD; Maya
Seated from left to right: Maya Koronyo-Hamaoui, PhD (PI), Altan Rentsendorj, PhD.