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Laboratoire Neurodégénérescence et Régénération (LNR)

Understanding the physiopathology of neurodegenerative diseases in animal models & development of stem cell therapies for neurodegenerative diseases
Expertise and research interests

Prof. Charles Nicaise is head of the Laboratory Neurodegeneration and Regeneration (LNR), devoted to the understanding of the physiopathology of neurological disorders in animal models and to the development of stem cell-based therapies.

His laboratory has an interest in examining the in vivo role played by glial cells and their function in glutamate homeostasis during osmotic demyelination syndrome (ODS) and spinal cord injuries (SCI). We recently focused on System Xc-, a cystine/glutamate antiporter, involved in both antioxidant defense and glutamate neurotransmission regulation. Employing a multidisciplinary approach that includes animal models, transgenic and knockout mouse models, stem cell transplantation (glial-restricted precursors cells or iPS-derived neural precursors), intraspinal viral vector-based manipulation of glutamate transporter levels and extensive histological, biochemical, behavioral and in vivo physiological analyses, their goal is to both characterize the roles played by these glial glutamate transporters in clinically-relevant models of ODS or SCI.

The lab has developed a broad expertise in generating rodent models of cervical contusive spinal cord injuries. In this context, another topic-of-interest is the characterization of innovative non-invasive imaging modalities aimed at quantifying neuronal or synaptic loss following spinal cord injury e.g. synchrotron x-ray phase-contrast tomography, SV2A PET imaging using [11C]UCB-J.

Recent and ongoing research projects
  • Étude de la dysfonction astrocytaire dans un modèle murin de syndrome de démyélinisation osmotique - PhD thesis defended by Joanna Bouchat on 16/09/2019
  • Quantification of neuronal loss and lesion extension following experimental spinal cord injury using Synchrotron X-ray phase-contrast tomography - project in collaboration with IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia in Italy, Dr. Michela Fratini
  • In vivo evaluation of [11C]UCB-J for PET imaging of synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A (SV2A) following spinal cord injury - project in collaboration with UAntwerp, Molecular Imaging Center Antwerp - MICA, Dr. Daniele Bertoglio and Prof. Steven Staelens
  • System Xc− as a novel therapeutic target for spinal cord injuries - Ongoing PhD thesis by Lindsay Sprimont
  • Tau pathology in repetitive mild spinal cord injuries - Ongoing PhD thesis by Nicolas Halloin


List of publications:




From left to right: Prof. Charles Nicaise, Valérie De Glas, Kathleen De Swert, Valéry Bielarz, Lindsay Sprimont and Nicolas Halloin

From left to right: Prof. Charles Nicaise, Valérie De Glas, Kathleen De Swert, Valéry Bielarz, Lindsay Sprimont and Nicolas Halloin