Marie-Ève Tremblay, PhD

Département de médecine moléculaire, Université Laval

Microglial relationships with synaptic elements in Alzheimer’s disease

Tremblay Lab research image
Dynamic interactions between microglia (in yellow) and dendritic spines (in green), as imaged in real-time in vivo. Each frame was taken 5 minutes apart. The spines contacted by the microglial processes are shown by the white arrowheads, and those which are non-contacted by the red arrowheads. The scale bar corresponds to 5 microns. (Tremblay ME, Lowery RL, and Majewska AK (2010) Microglial interactions with synapses are modulated by visual experience. PLoS Biology 8:e1000527)

A series of recent discoveries have challenged our view of microglia, the brain immune cells, showing unexpected roles in the active maintenance of neuronal circuits throughout the lifespan. Contributing to this nascent field of investigation, this project aims at exploring the relevance of these new roles in Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia affecting over 35 million people worldwide.

Portrait of Marie-Ève Tremblay, 2013
Marie-Ève Tremblay, recipient of a 2013 Banting Research Foundation grant

State-of-the-art imaging of microglial interactions with neuronal circuits will be performed throughout disease progression and pharmacological treatment in a transgenic mouse model. This work will provide better understanding of the learning and memory deficits in Alzheimer’s disease, fundamental insights into the possible implication of microglia, and new data to help evaluate the brain’s response to a variety of therapeutic approaches.