Investigating Autonomic Nervous System Symptoms in Parkinson’s Disease

Posted January 6, 2023

Dr. Avraham Ashkenazi, Tel Aviv University

Dr. Avraham Ashkenazi
Dr. Avraham Ashkenazi
(Photo Provided)

Dr. Avraham Ashkenazi, Tel Aviv University, received an award in fiscal year 2021 from the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs' Neurotoxin Exposure Treatment Parkinson’s Research Program. The project, “Characterizing and Targeting Molecular Signatures in Autonomic Neurons Derived from Patients with Parkinson's Disease,” in collaboration with Dr. Gad Vatine, Ben-Gurion University, and Dr. Clive Svendsen, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, will investigate questions related to initiation and progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Specifically, the award’s purpose is to explore PD symptoms outside the central nervous system by targeting the autonomic neurons. Dr. Ashkenazi will use induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from sporadic PD patients to determine whether exposure of iPSC-derived autonomic neurons to neurotoxins results in distinctive PD phenotypes. If phenotypes are identified, the principal investigator (PI) will further investigate whether the phenotypes are associated with distinctive molecular signatures and their relationship with the propagation of alpha-synuclein in the peripheral autonomic nervous system. The PI aims to identify biomarkers of pre-motor PD and metabolic intervention points useful in the development of candidate treatments.

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Last updated Friday, January 6, 2023