Our primary research goal is to generate a comprehensive description of how BFCNs do their jobs and to identify traits that put them at risk. Based upon our study of other neurons that are lost prematurely in PD, our hypothesis is that there is one trait that underlies their selective vulnerability – they work too hard. BFCNs, like other neurons at risk in PD, appear to be constantly active, working to coordinate neural activity in response to environmental challenges. To stay ‘vigilant’ and sustain their lines of communication, BFCNs appear to be constantly stimulating intracellular powerplants (mitochondria). A by-product of stimulation is a form of pollution (free radicals). Over time, the pollution appears to damage the powerplants themselves and neighboring parts of the neuron, leading ultimately to dysfunction and death.
|Effective start/end date||8/1/20 → 7/31/23|
- U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (W81XWH2010667)