Full course description
This course provides in-depth education into the biological factors and mechanisms underlying the development and course of commonly occurring neurodegenerative disorders, such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Age-related neurodegenerative disorders bring about a huge impact on the afflicted patients, their family members but also on society as a whole. The range of neurodegenerative disorders are known to show shared but also strikingly distinct properties with respect to clinical manifestations, macroscopical and microscopical neuropathology, and the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved, such as at the levels of cellular stress, aberrant protein aggregations and selective neurovulnerability. The aim of this course is to gain insight into these properties and thus into neurodegenerative processes, such as the formation and deposition of aggregated proteins, the loss of neurons and synapses, alterations in neurogenesis and inflammatory processes, alterations in metabolic/oxidative state, and the course will open the discussions whether these properties and processes may cause or consequence. Moreover, this course furthermore covers the influences of genetic and environmental factors on onset and course of neurodegenerative disorders and strategies for therapy. Human studies and studies using model systems such as transgenic animal models and neural cell cultures will be discussed.
Students will be able to understand:
- biological changes in the brain during aging. Anatomical, genomic, biochemical, electrophysiological and behavioural aspects of age-related neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia, dementia of the Alzheimer’s type, vascular dementia, frontal tempolar dementia, synucleinopathies (incl. Parkinson disease), and polyglutamine-delated disorders such as Huntington’s disease;
- epidemiology and diagnostic aspects of dementia and other common age-related neurodegenerative disorders;
- amyloid beta cascade hypothesis, amyloid precursor protein, Presenelin 1 and 2, Tau, ubiquitin, ApoE polymorphism, risk factors, oxidative stress, loss of synapses, energy metabolism and mitochondrial dysfunction, cell death, plaques, tangles, epigenetics, neuronal loss, gliosis, immune system, cytoarchitecture of hippocampus and neocortex, neuroplasticity, neurogenesis, life-style interventions and pharmacotherapy.
Laboratory skills are recommended
- T. Vanmierlo