Team ‘Neuropeptides, neuronal death and cell plasticity’


Team leader: Dr David Vaudry

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Presentation of the team

The objective of our team has been to characterize the effects of neurotrophic factors on cerebellar cortex development and to investigate the therapeutic potential of some of them in stroke and neurodegenerative disease models. In particular, we have shown that the cytokine Pleiotrophin is a key factor in the development of the cerebellum (Basille-Dugay et al., 2013) and reported the serine protease tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) as the first molecule identified to regulate basket and stellate cell migration (Raoult et al., 2014). Using cerebellar granule cells we have identified the octadecaneuropeptide (ODN) as a new neuroprotective agent (Kaddour et al., 2013). For therapeutic applications, we have developed pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) analogs with potent neuroprotective activity and reduced side effects (Lamine et al., 2015) and demonstrated that starting PACAP delivery 3 days after the stroke onset promotes fast, stable and efficient functional recovery (Brifault et al., 2015). We now focus on the ability of some neuropeptides to protect the brain from hypoxia induced damages during development and stroke in adulthood. Our team is composed of 2 Inserm researchers, 4 assistant professors, 1 research engineer and a technician with complementary expertise from peptide synthesis to neuroscience. An assistant professor specialist in pharmaceutical technologies will join us for this new project. Over the last 5 years, we have contributed to the training by research of 58 students including 11 PhD students. Through our very strong involvement in the operation and development of new applications on the PRIMACEN imaging and PISSARO proteomics platforms, we have participated to a number of collaborative studies as illustrated in our list of publications and have provided a first working experience to 26 people on fixed-term contracts. Our team is involved in the leadership of several societies such as the Groupe Français des Peptides et des Proteines (GFPP), the Société de Neuroendocrinologie or the Regulatory Peptide Society and we obtained the organization of some national or international meetings including the 19ème Congrès du GFPP in 2015 and the 21th International Symposium on Regulatory Peptides in 2016. We also coordinate some networks such as the LARC-Neuroscience network and 3 Interreg projects (AdMIN, TC2N and PeReNE) which have helped to develop collaboration in the fields of cell imaging, neuroscience and peptides research, respectively. Our expertise was solicited by national and international funding or assessment agencies such as the ANR, the AERES (now HCERES) and the FWO. Finally, by coordinating the brain awareness week in Rouen and participating to the Science festival, we actively contribute to the dissemination of the scientific culture to the lay public and young people through conferences and workshops in collaboration with Science Action Haute-Normandie, the Rouen Metropole and several high schools.