Optogenetic Dissection of Brain Circuits Causing Levodopa-Induced Dyskinesia

2015 Seed Grant
Alexandra Nelson, Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco

Patients with Parkinson’s Disease eventually develop complications of the main medical therapy available, levodopa, or L-dopa. These complications include disabling involuntary movements triggered by levodopa. We do not know why these complications develop, nor do we have good medications to manage them. We propose to study Parkinsonian mice treated with levodopa (who develop involuntary movements similar to those of humans) to identify the parts of the brain which cause the problem. By using new optical techniques that allow us to turn on or off specific classes of nerve cells within the brain, including those which we believe cause involuntary movements, we can determine which classes are responsible. We hope this will help find new targets for drug treatments for this disabling complication of Parkinson’s Disease

Other Grants

Lindsay M. De Biase, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles
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Synapses, the sites of signaling between neurons in the brain, play essential roles in learning, memory, and the health of neurons themselves. An enduring mystery is why some neurons are…
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Xiaojing Gao, Ph.D., Stanford University
When Neural Circuits Meet Molecular Circuits: Quantitative Genetic Manipulation with Single-cell Consistency
Cells are the building blocks of our bodies. We get sick when the cells “misbehave”. The way modern gene therapies work is to introduce genes, fragments of DNA molecules that…
Rafiq Huda, Ph.D., Rutgers University
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Movement requires coordinated activity across a large brain-wide network. The striatum is a particularly important part of this circuit; it integrates motor-related information from many distinct brain regions to regulate…