PhD supervisor : Claire Rampon & Marie-Christine Miquel – CRCA
PhD co-supervisor : Kevin Richetin – CHUV Lausanne, Swiss
The maintenance of healthy mitochondria is critical for brain functions throughout adult life. Aging is associated with a decrease in mitochondrial quality, the decline of biological functions and the development of several diseases.
In the mammalian brain, considerable evidence shows that mitochondrial dysfunction occurs early and contributes to the loss of synaptic function and plasticity. In this context, the two research groups involved in this project (CNRS UNIV. Toulouse 3 and CHUV Lausanne, Switzerland) recently demonstrated that mitochondrial disorders play a primordial role in hippocampal function and memory performances during Alzheimer’s disease. However, it remains unclear how aging per se affects mitochondrial dynamics and functions in the hippocampus and whether mitochondrial defects are causal in neuronal dysfunction.
This project aims to understand the importance of mitochondria in cognition during healthy and pathological aging. Through access to primate and human brain biobanks (K Richetin) combined with the manipulation of mitochondrial dynamics targeting hippocampal neural cell populations in mice (MC Miquel/ C Rampon), we will seek for new crucial information linking mitochondria to brain plasticity and cognitive functions throughout aging. We expect that this study will shed light on an unexplored aspect of cognitive diseases, possibly leading to novel diagnostic approaches.
Key words: mitochondria, aging