Professor Maguire-Zeiss has recently been published in the European Journal of Neuroscience for a collaboration on research aimed towards understanding the inflammatory mechanisms underlying neuronal loss in degenerative disease. From Parkinson’s disease to Huntington’s disease or even HIV Neurocognitive disorder, the degeneration of striatal neurons leads to life-altering consequences on memory and motor function. Contemporary research has struggled to identify the full course of degeneration due to the early onset without initial recognition of the disease. As a result, degenerative mechanisms may be occurring much before someone will report symptoms or be diagnosed. Front of the line research on inflammation may help to create therapies to combat degeneration through an understanding of the environment and molecular signaling that precedes neuronal loss.
The research performed by Professor Maguire-Zeiss, which also includes work completed by Georgetown Alum Nora Welsh, specifically looks at the role of AMPA-stimulated calcium responses in the dorsal striatum. By inducing inflammation in mice models, the researchers were able to identify that the D@ spiny projection neurons were specifically targeted in a proinflammatory environment. Overall, the outstanding research is another step closer to combatting the neurodegenerative diseases that plague the lives of so many people across the world.