Alzheimer’s Disease: potential roles for Olfactory Receptors

Our research team is interested in the potential role(s) of olfactory receptors expressed in the brain and more particularly in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Indeed, to general surprise, olfactory receptors, long time confined to the organs of smell alone, have recently been discovered in many orther organs of the human body, especially in the brain. It is then conceivable that these brain olfactory receptors can play another role, still unknown. Our team belongs to the small number of research groups that have demonstrated brain expression of these olfactory receptors. By studying the brain of mice mimicking Alzheimer’s disease, we have shown the presence of these receptors in several brain areas and their expression related to the stage of the disease (Gaudel et al, 2018). Understanding the role of these olfactory receptors in the brain could be of great therapeutic value. These cerebral olfactory receptors could be activated by other specific molecules of the brain or pathology. Indeed, neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by a neuronal death chronically associated with an inflammatory state. Inflammation releases cytokines and interleukins that can interact with these receptors. They may be considered therapeutic targets that would treat and / or slow the progression of the disease.
To adress our problematic, we use various study techniques (cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, imaging). The proposed internship will aim to study the influence of olfactory receptors, on the APP metabolism and / or inflammatory processes.
Students who are motivated and interested in this research theme are encouraged to contact us to discuss in more detail the internship opportunities we offer.

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