Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most frequent neurodegenerative disorder with most cases occurring after the age of fifty. The motor symptoms of PD result from the loss of dopaminergic neurons in specific regions of the brain. Prolonged use of dopamine-replacement therapies may lead to a complication called dyskinesia. Levodopa-induced dyskinesia is characterized by abnormal involuntary movements (dystonia, chorea, athetosis).

Research focus on the development of new animal models of the disease, e.g. to understand the pathophysiology of levodopa-induced dyskinesia. A main project studies the modulation of striatal gene expression changes in this disease model, in particular with respect to the role of the endogenous opiodergic neuropeptides in levodopa-induced dyskinesia.

A translational research project performed in collaboration with the Neurodegeneration Group searches for early markers of disease in tissue samples obtained from PD patients. This project is possible thanks to creation at the NSI of a database that captures the spectrum of movement disorders in Ticinese population and to the current effort to establish a biobank. The scope is ultimately to capture the mutation frequency of genes involved in these diseases mainly the monogenic forms of PD.

Recent publications:

  1. Sgroi S, Capper-Loup C, Paganetti P, Kaelin-Lang A. Enkephalin and dynorphin neuropeptides are differently correlated with locomotor hypersensitivity and levodopa-induced dyskinesia in parkinsonian rats. Exp Neurol 2016; 280:80
  2. Sgroi S, Kaelin-Lang A, Capper-Loup C. Spontaneous locomotor activity and L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia are not linked in 6-OHDA parkinsonian rats. Front Behav Neurosci 2014; 8:331
  3. Mordasini L, Kessler TM, Kiss B, Schüpbach M, Pollo C, Kaelin-Lang A. Bladder function in patients with dystonia undergoing deep brain stimulation. Parkinsonism Relat Disord 2014; 20(9):1015-7
  4. Pollo C, Kaelin-Lang A, Oertel MF, Stieglitz L, Taub E, Fuhr P, Lozano AM, Raabe A, Schüpbach M. Directional deep brain stimulation: an intraoperative double-blind pilot study. Brain. 2014; 137(7): 2015-26