Research - Neurodegeneration
NUH patients benefit from the strong research portfolio in multi-faceted neurodegeneration which brings together NHS clinicians, researchers and scientists from the University of Nottingham.
Current areas of research
Lewy Body Disease
Professor Mayer's team have carried out conditional gene ablation of a proteasomal regulatory ATPase in the substantia nigra using the loxP/Cre recombinase homologous recombination approach. This has recapitulated the neuropathology and neurochemical deficits of Parkinson's Disease including loss of tyrosine hydroxylase positive neuronal projections to the basal ganglia. A new genetic model of Parkinson's disease has been created and moreover it has been demonstrated genetically that abolition of the 26S proteasome in neurones in the substantia nigra causes neuronal death and recapitulates the disease.
Parkinson's Disease and related disorders
Ultra-High Field MRI diagnostic imaging of Parkinsonian disorders at 3 and 7 Tesla. This work has built on the ward for a Nobel prize in the development of MRI to Sir Peter Mansfield.
A project launched in 2010 uses a variety of MRI techniques, and the new techniques of transcranial ultrasound and magentoencephalography to further explore the pathogenic aetiology of tremor in Parkinsonian conditions.
Use of FP-CIT phenotyping in the evaluation of dystonic SWEDDs (Scans without evidence of dopaminergic deficiency). Grants from GE Electric have allowed the detailed phenotyping of cohorts of patients with dystonic tremor mimicking Parkinson's Disease. Future work will look at genetic loci that might pre-dispose to this condition and imaging work will evaluate the nature of the Parkinsonian deficits in dystonic tremor. This in turn may give leads on new drug development.
High field (7T) studies, led by Professor Dorothee Auer, are taking place in Alzheimer dementia including studies on iron deposition in amyloid cortical plaques.
How we are funded
Our research is funded by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust, UK.
We have recently been awarded >£2M in grants in the fields of Alzheimer Dementia (AD) and Parkinson's Disease (PD).
The Nottingham team (Mayer, Lowe and Lennox) helped pioneer the use of anti-ubiquitin antibodies in the description of brain neurodegenerative diseases including diffuse Lewy Body diseases back in the late 1980s.
The Nottingham MRI Parkinson's Disease team includes: