New PIA; this PIA was established in April 2020.
Chair: Lea T. Grinberg
Vice Chair: Heidi Jacobs
Programs Chair: Stefan Teipel
Communications Chair: Ana Luisa Gil Martinez
This PIA brings together expertise from diverse disciplines with the focus on understanding the biology and function of the subcortical nuclei and their role in the pathogenesis of AD and other tauopathies. Subcortical nuclei in brainstem, basal forebrain, thalamus and hypothalamus, including the locus coeruleus, dorsal raphe nucleus, and cholinergic basal forebrain nucleus are the first critical sites in the brain to accumulate AD-tau pathology. Further work in humans and animal models showed that early AD-tau driven degeneration of these areas has clinical impact preceding cognitive decline and may exacerbate AD progression in the brain. In addition, degeneration of subcortical nuclei is closely linked to the build-up of cerebral amyloid in AD, but also to different upstream pathological lesions in other neurodegenerative diseases. Thus, functional and structural disintegration of subcortical nuclei and related neuronal networks may critically drive the downstream expression, including remote cortical degeneration and clinical phenotype, from different pathologies. Yet, despite their importance in early stages of AD and other neurodegenerative diseases, these structures that are also critically involved in arousal, sleep, memory, attention, and various neuropsychiatric symptoms are still underexplored.
Goals of this PIA are:
1. Develop, advance and harmonize in vivo methods to visualize and quantify structure and functional connectivity of the nuclei of the neuromodulatory systems in animal models and in human studies
2. Provide a forum to discuss multi-disciplinary findings (basic, translational, clinical) on the nuclei of the neuromodulatory systems in AD and other neurodegenerative diseases and raise awareness for their role as one of the earliest sites of pathology accumulation and its clinical and pathogenic consequences
3. Discuss multi-disciplinary findings on the nuclei of the neuromodulatory systems and set up collaborations aimed at developing intervention studies targeting brain structures affected earliest in AD and other neurodegenerative diseases with the goal to delay or prevent disease progression
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