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PhD defence: Sara Raquel Almeida Ferreira

Involvement of the monocytic CD163 receptor in the alpha-synuclein-induced neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease

2022.01.27 | Graduate School of Health

Date Thu 24 Feb
Time 09:00 11:00
Location Eduard Biermann Auditorium 1252-204, Aarhus University, Bartholins Allé 3, 8000 Aarhus C or online

On Thursday 24 February at 09:00, Sara Raquel Almeida Ferreira defends her PhD dissertation entitled "Neuroprotective role for the CD163 receptor in the alpha-synuclein induced Neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease".

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the fastest growing neurodegenerative disease with an anticipated prevalence of 12 million persons affected by 2040. No cure has been yet found for PD, and much research is needed to define novel therapeutic targets. In PD, the intraneuronal aggregation of alpha-synuclein (α-syn) constitute the pathological neuronal hallmark of the disease. Besides this, PD also includes a significant immune component, which constitutes the main focus of the thesis presented. 

Classically approached as a brain disease, it is now accepted that PD has a multifactorial nature, with both nervous and immune systems affected and associated to its symptomatic presentation. It is suggested that not only brain, but also peripheral immune cells are involved in the inflammation associated to the PD neurodegenerative process. Importantly, misfolded α-syn is central to not only the neuronal event, but also to the immune response. This is so, because α-syn can act as a pro-inflammagen on microglia in the brain and also monocytes in the periphery, such those expressing the CD163 receptor.The main focus of this doctoral dissertation was to investigate the involvement of the monocytic CD163 receptor in the α-syn induced neurodegeneration in PD.

The PhD project was based on three studies presented as 2 published articles and one manuscript. In the first study,the existing literature addressing α-syn pro-inflammatory effects on immune cells was reviewed. The second study aimed to investigate the involvement of CD163 monocytes in PD. It defines soluble CD163 (sCD163), the cleaved form of the protein, as a marker of monocytic activation and potential biomarker in PD; and characterizes its role in the immune response associated to α-syn. The third study aimed to evaluate the CD163 role in the α-syn-induced immune and pathological events by modelling the disease in a CD163 knock out mouse line.

The data generated during the PhD provides valuable insights into the novel role for the CD163 receptor in PD, providing the scientific field with a new target for disease modification.

The summary is written by the PhD student.

The defence is public and takes place in the Eduard Biermann Auditorium 1252-204, Aarhus University, Bartholins Allé 3, 8000 Aarhus C or online via Zoom. Please read the attached press release for more information.


PhD student Sara Raquel Almeida Ferreira

Mail: sara.ferreira@biomed.au.dk

Phone: (+45) 60561601

Read full press release

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