MIND-MAPS: Mitochondria, Proteins & Synapses in Neurodegeneration
The hallmark of Parkinson’s disease pathology is the aggregation of misfolded α-synuclein in Lewy bodies, which leads to loss of neuronal synapses and consequently, loss of neurons. A common finding is a progressive mitochondrial dysfunction associated with α-synuclein aggregation, leading to energy deficits and synaptic loss, followed by cell death. Recent advances in positron emission tomography molecular imaging provide a unique opportunity for direct evaluation of mitochondria, proteins and synaptic function. We aim to provide in vivo evidence for the role of mitochondria, proteins and synapses in neurodegenerative diseases, and their relevance to disease burden. Our findings may provide novel molecular markers for drug development, and to monitor disease progression and the response to treatment.