Schematic representation of the collaborating groups of NUBIN:
The department of Clinical Chemistry has extensive experience in biobanking of biological samples from several medical research departments. Since September 2000 a protocol is active to collect biological fluids in collaboration with the department of Neurology (AD and MS). This professional biobanking capacity at the Clinical Chemistry department is crucial for the NUBIN. The research groups of the department of Clinical Chemistry have a particular interest in neuroendocrine diseases. Expertise in neurochemistry and immunochemistry is well developed. Assays for routine analysis are operational for determination of amyloid-ß1-42 and total and hyperphosphorylated tau protein in CSF, as well as for Apolipoprotein E genotyping are already available. Assays for other genetic polymorphisms will soon be available, including Interleukin-1a, a1-antichymotrypsin and the receptor voor Advanced Glycosylated Endproducts (RAGE).
At the Alzheimer Center of the department of Neurology patients are screened for dementia using standard protocols including clinical, neuropsychological, neurophysiological, laboratory and radiological work-up. All patients are being followed and examined each year. The focus of this research is on image analysis using MRI, CSF and EEG. The progression of disease is monitored using MRI postprocessing techniques to measure brain volumes during progression of the disease. Since September 2000 a protocol is active in the VU-dementia bank to collect biological fluids and this has yielded samples of more than 1000 patients so far, that are coupled with imaging, clinical and neurophysiological/neuropsychological information.
The department of Neurology MS has built up extensive experience in evaluating clinical parameters using clinical scales, epidemiological research, radiology, genetics and biochemical markers (e.g. immunological and neurodegenerative markers). A database system is developed , which allows accurate storage and analysis of the patient’s data. The patients are being followed in longitudinal research. Part of the biobanking of the biological material is performed in collaboration with the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research, Netherlands Brain Bank.
The research group Neuroimmunology of the department of Molecular Cell Biology and Immunology focuses on experimental research on neuroinflammatory diseases in particular multiple sclerosis (MS). Several experimental models for neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration are operational, including an animal model for MS (experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, EAE), models for blood-brain-barrier damage and a model for demyelinisation and neurodegeneration in a three-dimensional spheroid brain cell culture. Extensive experience is present on blody fluid markers for axonal damage. New biochemical assays for neurodegeneration in human serum and CSF are being developed and validated. Furthermore, various immunological assays are operational for application in translational research, e.g. a newly developed assay for determination of anti-myelin antibodies. The department has extensive experience in the development and production of monoclonal antibodies. Furthermore, facilities and expertise are present for determinations using gene-expression, micro-arrays and proteomics.
The Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Multiple sclerosis (MS) research groups of the Pathology department use an extended, ever expanding collection of well-characterised AD, MS and control central nervous system tissue specimens (both fresh frozen and formalin fixed) obtained in collaboration with the Netherlands Brain Bank (Amsterdam). CSF is available from the same patients, facilitating the comparison of CSF findings with neuropathology, while the MS tissue is also imaged by MRI for radiological correlations. The AD and Prion disease research aims at determining the modulating effects of amyloid-associated inflammatory and acute phase proteins on amyloid-ß and prion peptide induced glial cell activation and neurotoxicity. These in vitro models provide test systems to screen potentially therapeutic compounds in the presence of factors present in the affected brain in vivo. The research on MS mainly focuses on the role of immunomodulating processes in MS lesions, and on the pathology of grey matter MS lesions.
Members: P. Heutink PhD, Patricia Rizzu PhD
Expertise: see website cncr