PhD awarded to Sigrid Franke at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

12 May 2016

BPRC - 1. PhD awarded to Sigrid Franke at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

On 10 May 2016 Sigrid Franke successfully defended her thesis ‘A slow progressive marmoset model for idiopathic Parkinsons’s disease’.

Parkinson's disease (PD) is, next to Alzheimer's disease, the second most common progressive neurodegenerative disorder of the brain. Although age is the most important risk factor to develop PD, little is known about the cause of this disease. Multiple factors may play a role in the pathology of this disease. 

PD can be induced in the marmoset monkey by the neurotoxin MPTP. MPTP is a by-product in the synthesis of heroine. The toxic effect on the brain was discovered in young drugs users in the early eighties. The symptoms were undistinguishable from PD. From that moment on, MPTP was used as a tool for PD research.  

In her thesis Sigrid Franke describes the behavioural, molecular and neurochemical alterations that are elicited by the administration of low doses MPTP in the common marmoset. The insights that were obtained support the use of chronic MPTP exposure in marmosets as a clinically relevant model for PD in humans. This research project was done at the BPRC in collbaoration with the department of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology of the Free University Amsterdam.