Dr. François Berthod is a professor at the Department of Surgery of the Laval University School of Medicine, and researcher at LOEX, Hôpital de l’Enfant-Jésus, CHU de Québec-Laval University research center.

The main objective of his research program is to use tissue-engineering techniques of in vitro organ reconstruction to model different diseases that can be induced, or modulated by the nervous system. These models will be useful to better understand the disease mechanisms and to find new therapeutic approaches. In addition, one of his projects aims to repair peripheral nerve injuries through the development of a nerve tube produced by tissue engineering with the patient’s own cells.

Development of in vitro models of diseases by tissue engineering

Many human diseases have causes and mechanisms that are still poorly understood, making it difficult to find more efficient drugs. Using patient cells, it is possible to reconstruct organs affected by these diseases, and recapitulate their effects in vitro to better understand their mechanisms, and use these models to test the efficacy of new drugs.

In the case of modeling psoriasis, Dr. Berthod’s team hypothesized that cutaneous innervation could play a major role in lesion formation, and developed, in collaboration with Dr. Roxane Pouliot, an innervated and immunocompetent psoriatic skin model to study this disease.

To model amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurodegenerative disease, Dr. Berthod’s team uses tissue engineering tools. Motor neurons are cultured with astrocytes, microglia, Schwann cells, and myotubes in a compartmentalized three-dimensional construct to recapitulate the neurodegenerative process.

Repair of peripheral nerves by tissue engineering

Peripheral nerve injuries cause paralysis of the affected limbs. The current surgical options for repairing major deficits are ineffective. Dr. Berthod has developed, in collaboration with Dr. Hélène Khuong, neurosurgeon, a project to produce a nerve tube made up of the patient’s own cells, and tailored to bridge the nerve gap. The production of an autologous living tube is a major innovation that should greatly stimulate axonal migration in the graft and promote regeneration of the injured nerve, allowing motor and sensitive recoveries of the limb.

1401, 18e Rue
Local: R-203 - LOEX / CMDGT
Québec, Québec
Canada G1J 1Z4
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Cadau S, Leoty-Okombi S, Pain S, Bechetoille N, Andre-Frei V, Berthod F

In vitro glycation of an endothelialized and innervated tissue-engineered skin to screen anti-AGE molecules.

Journal Article

Biomaterials, 51 , 2015.

Abstract | Links:

Di LZ, Couture V, Leblanc E, Alinejad Y, Beaudoin JF, Lecomte R, Berthod F, Faucheux N, Balg F, Grenier G

A Longitudinal Low Dose μCT Analysis of Bone Healing in Mice: A Pilot Study.

Journal Article

Adv Orthop, 2014 , 2014.

Abstract | Links:

Blais M, Mottier L, Germain MA, Bellenfant S, Cadau S, Berthod F

Sensory neurons accelerate skin reepithelialization via substance P in an innervated tissue-engineered wound healing model.

Journal Article

Tissue Eng Part A, 20 (15-16), 2014.

Abstract | Links:

Berthod F

Fibroblasts and endothelial cells : the basic angiogenic unit (Chapter 7)

Book Chapter

G, Santulli (Ed.): Angiogenesis: insights from a systematic overview, pp. 145-157, New York, Nova Science Publishers, 2013, ISBN: 9781626181144.

Blais M, Parenteau-Bareil R, Cadau S, Berthod F

Concise review: tissue-engineered skin and nerve regeneration in burn treatment.

Journal Article

Stem Cells Transl Med, 2 (7), 2013.

Abstract | Links:

Blais M, Levesque P, Bellenfant S, Berthod F

Nerve growth factor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, neurotrophin-3 and glial-derived neurotrophic factor enhance angiogenesis in a tissue-engineered in vitro model.

Journal Article

Tissue Eng Part A, 19 (15-16), 2013.

Abstract | Links:

Cadau S, Rosignoli C, Rhetore S, Voegel J, Parenteau-Bareil R, Berthod F

Early stages of hair follicle development: a step by step microarray identity.

Journal Article

Eur J Dermatol, 2013.

Abstract | Links:

Berthod F, Gros-Louis F

In vivo and in vitro models to study amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Chapter 4)

Book Chapter

M, Maurer (Ed.): Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, pp. 81-124, InTech, 2012, ISBN: 9789533078069.

| Links:

Berthod F, Symes J, Tremblay N, Medin JA, Auger FA

Spontaneous fibroblast-derived pericyte recruitment in a human tissue-engineered angiogenesis model in vitro.

Journal Article

J Cell Physiol, 227 (5), 2012.

Abstract | Links:

Auclair-Daigle C, Berthod F

Potential of Tissue Engineering and Neural Stem Cells in the Understanding and Treatment of Neurodegenerative Diseases

Book Chapter

L, Song (Ed.): Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering, pp. 183-203, New Jersey, World Scientific Publishing Co., 2011.

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Active projects

  • Étude de l'impact de l'innervation cutanée dans le Psoriasis, from 2018-04-01 to 2023-03-31
  • Modélisation par génie tissulaire de la modulation de l'angiogenèse par l'innervation sensorielle, from 2018-04-01 to 2023-03-31
  • Pathogenic Pathways and in-vitro modelization of Intracranial Aneurysms in populations of Inuit and French Canadian descent, from 2017-04-01 to 2022-03-31
  • Réparation des lésions des nerfs périphériques par génie tissulaire, from 2021-04-01 to 2026-03-31

Recently finished projects

  • Implication des kinines dans la DMLA neovasculaire, from 2017-04-01 to 2020-05-31
  • Reprogramming hiPSCs from ARSACS patients into neural cells in order to recreate a model of the disease in vitro, from 2019-03-01 to 2020-02-29
  • Stratégies de réparation des transsections des nerfs périphériques par génie tissulaire, from 2016-07-01 to 2021-06-30
  • Traitement des ulcères diabétiques à l'aide de nanoparticules chargées en neuropeptides, from 2020-06-08 to 2020-09-07
Data provided by the Université Laval research projects registery