Anne Malene Landau, February 2016
We are a translational preclinical research group focusing on the development, and subsequent testing and validation through brain imaging, of novel animal models for neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders and the efficacy of putative therapeutics. A main goal of our work is to develop and validate novel positron emission tomography (PET) tracers for later use in clinical practice.
The development of representative animal models of Parkinson’s disease and imaging tools to evaluate in vivo the pathological load and efficacy of new therapeutic approaches to clear protein aggregation and reduce inflammation represents a major focus of our research. Moreover, we are about to embark on a trial of human embryonic stem cells in a minipig model of parkinsonism in collaboration with experts in Sweden.
Another priority has been the validation and characterisation of [11C]yohimbine PET as a biomarker of synaptic noradrenaline levels. For this purpose we developed a simultaneous PET and microdialysis paradigm in the pig and demonstrated that decreases in yohimbine receptor binding reflect increases in endogenous noradrenaline. This approach will be used to evaluate other novel PET tracers and study the relationship between receptor availability and synaptic levels of neurotransmitters. We are working with [11C]yohimbine PET to study animal models relevant to depression, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy, as well as the impact of brain stimulation therapies with antidepressant effects.
A wide range of research avenues including pharmacological investigations, validation of disease models, and new tracer development are currently being pursued. This collaborative program benefits from the participation of neurosurgeons, neurologists, psychiatrists, radiochemists, physicists, veterinarians, Danish and international scientists and highly motivated students.