Alzheimer's Disease and brain aging: Multimodal imaging and therapy


Research center

18 route du Panorama
92260 Fontenay-aux-Roses
Philippe Hantraye


Université Paris Sud
Université Paris Saclay
ED568 - Biosigne


Laboratoire des Maladies Neurodégénératives
UMR 9199


Translational research


Vandenberghe M., Hérard A.S., Souedet N., Sadouni E., Santin M., Briet D., Carré D., Schultz J., Hantraye P., Chabrier P.E., Rooney T., Debeir T., Blanchard V., Pradier L., Dhenain M., Delzescaux T.. Brain-wide quantitative histopathology in mice at the mesoscopic scale. Scientific Reports. 2016, 6:20958 | DOI: 10.1038/srep20958.

Dudeffant C.*, Vandesquille M.*, Herbert K., Garin C. M., Alves S., Comoy E., Petit F., Dhenain M. Contrast-enhanced MR microscopy of amyloid plaques in five mouse models of amyloidosis and in human Alzheimer's disease brains. Scientific Reports. 2017;7(1):4955.

Vandesquille M.§, Li T.F.§, Po C., Ganneau C., Lenormand P., Dudeffant C., Czech C., Grueninger F., Duyckaerts C., Delatour B., Dhenain M.*, Lafaye P.*, Bay S.. Chemically-defined gadolinium - single-domain antibody conjugate: a nanoimaging agent for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. mAbs. 2017;9(6):1016-27.

Djelti F., Dhenain M., Terrien J.L., Picq J.L., Hardy I., Champeval D., Perret M., Schenker E., Epelbaum J, Aujard F. High Fasting Blood Glucose is an index of early cognitive impairment and hippocampus and-septum atrophy in middle-aged non-human primates. Aging Aging (Albany NY). 2017; 9 (1), 173-186.

Santin M.D., Vandenberghe M., Herard A.S., Pradier L., Cohen C., Debeir T., Delzescaux T., Rooney T., Dhenain M.. In vivo detection of amyloid plaques by gadolinium-stained MRI can be used to demonstrate the efficacy of an anti-Aβ antibody in transgenic mice. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. 2016, 22 March 2016


Fields of research

Neurological and psychiatric diseases

Research Theme

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a public health problem in our societies. It is associated with the intracerebral accumulation of amyloid plaques and tau lesions. Our team tackles this disease by focusing on three different points. 

1. First we develop imaging procedures to follow-up AD lesions. We develop new MR contrast agents to detect amyloid plaques and tau lesions. Our agents are either non-targeted contrast agents or targeted-contrast agents based on llama antibodies. The agents are tested in mice, macaques and humans. Registration between various imaging modalities required to validate the quality of new contrast agents are based on innovative algorithms developed by our group. In parallel, we develop image processing algorithms to segment amyloid plaques from MRI.

We also develop innovative 3D image processing algorithms to follow-up post mortem markers based on autoradiography (evaluation of cerebral metabolism) or immunohistochemistry (evaluation of amyloid load, tau pathology, neuroinflammation). Our methods allow to perform voxel-wise analyses of 3D-reconstructed post mortem data in order to correlate information coming from various imaging modalities. We are also working on high-resolution virtual microscopy to implement high-throughput analysis of markers such as cell density within entire 3D histological brains. 

Finally, we implement new high performance computing technologies to propose integrated solutions to navigate fluidly and intuitively into big data images (thanks to 3D viewing tablets for example). These solutions allow the comparison of simulation approaches and 3D modelling of preclinical models to identify new therapeutic targets and to develop new drugs against AD on the basis of new digital technologies.

This part of our projects provide a unique opportunity to dive into the brain by integrating multi-scale 3D information from the macroscopic to the microscopic level, and should provide the scientific community with powerful analytical tools to optimize translational research and improve neurodegenerative disease diagnosis, follow up and treatment.

2. A second part of our project concerns the evaluation of new mechanisms involved in Alzheimer's disease. First, we focus on nucleation/propagation hypothesis which suggest that poorly-shaped forms (pathological) of amyloid and tau proteins can transmit their misfolded forms to normal proteins and induce pathology. We seek to understand the reality of these mechanisms in primates and what are the functional consequences of nucleation/propagation processes. We also evaluate the role of mast cells, a critical cell for inflammation, on the development of AD pathology.

3. The last part of our studies concern therapy evaluation in animals and humans. We evaluate immunotherapies against amyloid as a potential treatment against AD. We also evaluate a therapy that target mast cells. The latter therapy is studied in the context of an international phase 3 clinical trial that we drive for images analysis. 

Team members

Thierry Delzescaux
Fanny Petit
Jean-Luc Picq
Anne Sophie Herard
Nicolas Souedet
Nachiket Nadkarni
Cedric Clouchoux
Charlotte Gary
Yael Balbastre
Zhenzhen You
Clement Garin
Clemence Dudeffant
Clement Bouvier
Emmalaurie Baptiste
Lisa Ciaptacz