Steve Lacroix is Professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine of Laval University. He received his Ph.D. from Laval University in 1998. He was trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the field of spinal cord regeneration at the University of California, San Diego, under the supervision of Dr. Mark H. Tuszynski from 1998 to 2001. From 2001 to 2003, he completed a second postdoctoral training in neuroimmunology at McGill University with Dr. Samuel David. Since 2003, Dr. Lacroix runs a laboratory specialized in neuroimmunology and regenerative medicine at Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec – Université Laval (CRCHUQc-UL). Recent research conducted in his lab has focused on the identification of endogenous danger signals, or damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), initiating neuroinflammation and the role of immune cells and molecules in neural damage and repair in the context of spinal cord and peripheral nerve injury, as well as multiple sclerosis. In 2017, Dr. Lacroix was named the director of the Neurosciences Axis at CRCHUQc-UL, a working group that includes 45 regular and associate researchers.

Manipulating the neuroimmune response to promote spinal cord repair

Research conducted over recent years has greatly contributed to demonstrate the importance of the immune response in the mechanisms of degeneration and regeneration of the central nervous system (CNS). Multiple sclerosis, for example, is a neuroinflammatory disease that results in the attack of nerve cells and myelin sheaths by auto-aggressive immune cells. Paradoxically, immune cells could positively influence regeneration of injured axons in models of peripheral nerve and spinal cord injury. Other studies have however shown that the immune response may also contribute to secondary tissue damage and formation of the glial scar in the injured CNS. While the results of these studies seem diametrically opposed at first sight, recent work in the Lacroix laboratory suggests that these differences could be due to the existence of different subtypes of immune cells with distinct properties (pro- vs. anti-inflammatory, trophic vs. cytotoxic, pro- vs. anti-angiogenic). Hence, a better understanding of the biological roles of the different subtypes of immune cells and mechanisms regulating their functions in the injured/diseased CNS could lead to significant contributions to basic research and even clinical opportunities. Research currently underway in the laboratory focuses on three different disorders:

Spinal cord injury (SCI): Unlike the peripheral nervous system (PNS), the CNS has a very limited capacity to regenerate. Thus, when an injury is inflicted to the spinal cord or brain, permanent deficits are often generated. Current work focuses on harnessing the neuroimmune response to reduce neural tissue loss at the site of lesion and promote functional regeneration of injured axons.

Peripheral nerve lesion (PNL): Despite the ability of peripheral nerves to regenerate, recovery of neurological function after PNL is often incomplete. Peripheral nerve injury can also lead to increased pain sensation. The Lacroix laboratory has recently demonstrated the importance of the immune response in regeneration of injured peripheral axons, recovery of motor function, and the development of neuropathic pain. In years to come, they intend to continue their efforts towards understanding the effects of inflammation in the injured PNS, in an attempt to identify (and eventually manipulate) immune cells and genes regulating neural repair and regeneration.

Multiple sclerosis (MS): In MS, an unknown trigger causes immune cells to transgress the tolerance rule, causing the body’s own immune system to turn against itself and attack the myelin and axons responsible for transmission of nerve impulses. Research conducted in the laboratory over the recent years aims at understanding how the activity and recruitment of immune cells are regulated during MS, with a special focus on cytokines of the interleukin-1 family, in the hope of finding a way to neutralize or stimulate them for therapeutic purposes.

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61 entries « 6 of 7 »

Rivest S, Lacroix S, Vallières L, Nadeau S, Zhang J, Laflamme N

How the blood talks to the brain parenchyma and the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus during systemic inflammatory and infectious stimuli.

Journal Article

Proc Soc Exp Biol Med, 223 (1), pp. 22-38, 2000, ISSN: 0037-9727.

Abstract | Links:

Lacroix S, Tuszynski MH

Neurotrophic factors and gene therapy in spinal cord injury.

Journal Article

Neurorehabil Neural Repair, 14 (4), pp. 265-75, 2000, ISSN: 1545-9683.

Abstract | Links:

Laflamme N, Lacroix S, Rivest S

An essential role of interleukin-1beta in mediating NF-kappaB activity and COX-2 transcription in cells of the blood-brain barrier in response to a systemic and localized inflammation but not during endotoxemia.

Journal Article

J Neurosci, 19 (24), pp. 10923-30, 1999, ISSN: 0270-6474.

Abstract | Links:

Lacroix S, Feinstein D, Rivest S

The bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide has the ability to target the brain in upregulating its membrane CD14 receptor within specific cellular populations.

Journal Article

Brain Pathol, 8 (4), pp. 625-40, 1998, ISSN: 1015-6305.

Abstract | Links:

Lacroix S, Rivest S

Effect of acute systemic inflammatory response and cytokines on the transcription of the genes encoding cyclooxygenase enzymes (COX-1 and COX-2) in the rat brain.

Journal Article

J Neurochem, 70 (2), pp. 452-66, 1998, ISSN: 0022-3042.

Abstract | Links:

Cicchetti F, Lacroix S, Beach TG, Parent A

Calretinin gene expression in the human thalamus.

Journal Article

Brain Res Mol Brain Res, 54 (1), pp. 1-12, 1998, ISSN: 0169-328X.

Abstract | Links:

Lacroix S, Rivest S

Functional circuitry in the brain of immune-challenged rats: partial involvement of prostaglandins

Journal Article

J Comp Neurol, 387 (2), pp. 307-24, 1997, ISSN: 0021-9967.

Abstract | Links:

Vallières L, Lacroix S, Rivest S

Influence of interleukin-6 on neural activity and transcription of the gene encoding corticotrophin-releasing factor in the rat brain: an effect depending upon the route of administration.

Journal Article

Eur J Neurosci, 9 (7), pp. 1461-72, 1997, ISSN: 0953-816X.

Abstract | Links:

Lacroix S, Valliéres L, Rivest S

C-fos mRNA pattern and corticotropin-releasing factor neuronal activity throughout the brain of rats injected centrally with a prostaglandin of E2 type.

Journal Article

J Neuroimmunol, 70 (2), pp. 163-79, 1996, ISSN: 0165-5728.

Abstract | Links:

Lacroix S, Rivest S

Role of cyclo-oxygenase pathways in the stimulatory influence of immune challenge on the transcription of a specific CRF receptor subtype in the rat brain.

Journal Article

J Chem Neuroanat, 10 (1), pp. 53-71, 1996, ISSN: 0891-0618.

Abstract | Links:

61 entries « 6 of 7 »
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Active projects

  • Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec - Université Laval, Subvention, Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec - Université Laval, Centres de recherche affiliés, from 2017-01-01 to 2099-12-31
  • Centre thématique de recherche en neurosciences, Subvention, Institutionnel - BDR, BDR - Centres de recherche reconnus, from 1999-06-01 to 2023-05-01
  • Elucidating the role of the IL-1 system in the pathogenesis of CNS autoimmunity, Subvention, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Subvention Projet, from 2020-04-01 to 2025-03-31
  • Interleukin-1 alpha mediates secondary degeneration and neuropathic pain after spinal cord injury, Subvention, Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation, Research Grant, from 2020-04-01 to 2023-03-31
  • Manipulating the neuroimmune response to promote spinal cord repair, Subvention, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Subvention Projet, from 2019-04-01 to 2024-03-31
  • Platelets and neutrophils: the two culprits mediating pain in inflammatory arthritis, Subvention, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Subvention Projet, from 2020-04-01 to 2025-03-31
  • Platelets and neutrophils: the two culprits mediating pain in inflammatory arthritis, Subvention, La société d'arthrite, from 2020-01-01 to 2022-12-31
  • The interleukin-1 cytokine system as a target for the treatment of MS, Subvention, Société canadienne de la sclérose en plaques, from 2019-04-01 to 2022-03-31

Recently finished projects

  • 3rd Neuroforum of the CHU de Québec - Université Laval Research Center: A seminar series of le2aders in neuroscience, Subvention, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Subvention de planification et dissémination, from 2020-01-01 to 2020-03-31
  • Étude des interactions entre les cellules immunitaires et les composantes de la barrière hématoencéphalique, Subvention, Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé, Programme d'appui à la recherche pour les enseignants-chercheurs de collège, from 2017-07-01 to 2019-06-30
  • Interleukine-1 alpha inhibition as a potential neuroprotective therapy for spinal cord injury, Subvention, Fondation internationale pour la recherche en paraplégie, from 2016-05-01 to 2019-06-30
  • Mécanismes cellulaires et moléculaires modulant la régénération de nerfs lésés, Subvention, Conseil de recherches en sciences naturelles et génie Canada, Subventions à la découverte SD (individuelles et d'équipe), from 2015-04-01 to 2020-03-31
  • Mutant protein spread in Huntington's disease and its implications for other neurodegenerative disorders of the CNS., Subvention, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Subvention de fonctionnement, from 2014-07-01 to 2019-06-30
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