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.

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Louit A, Beaudet MJ, Gros-Louis F, Berthod F

Tissue-engineered in vitro modeling of the impact of Schwann cells in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Journal Article

Biotechnol Bioeng, 119 (7), 2022.

Abstract | Links:

Roy V, Ross JP, Pépin R, Cortez Ghio S, Brodeur A, Touzel Deschênes L, Le-Bel G, Phillips DE, Milot G, Dion PA, Guérin S, Germain L, Berthod F, Auger FA, Rouleau GA, Dupré N, Gros-Louis F

Moyamoya Disease Susceptibility Gene RNF213 Regulates Endothelial Barrier Function

Journal Article

Stroke, 53 (4), 2022.

Abstract | Links:

Thibodeau A, Galbraith T, Fauvel CM, Khuong HT, Berthod F

Repair of peripheral nerve injuries using a prevascularized cell-based tissue-engineered nerve conduit

Journal Article

Biomaterials, 280 , 2022.

Abstract | Links:

Muller Q, Berthod F, Flacher V

[Tridimensional in vitro models of nervous and immune systems in the skin]

Journal Article

Med Sci (Paris), 37 (1), 2021.

Abstract | Links:

Talagas M, Lebonvallet N, Berthod F, Misery L

Lifting the veil on the keratinocyte contribution to cutaneous nociception

Journal Article

Protein Cell, 11 (4), 2020.

Abstract | Links:

De Serres Bérard T, Becher TB, Braga CB, Ornelas C, Berthod F

Neuropeptide Substance P Released from a Nonswellable Laponite-Based Hydrogel Enhances Wound Healing in a Tissue-Engineered Skin In Vitro

Journal Article

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces, 2 (12), 2020.

| Links:

Jakubowska W, Chabaud S, Saba I, Galbraith T, Berthod F, Bolduc S

Prevascularized Tissue-Engineered Human Vaginal Mucosa: Optimization and Validation

Journal Article

Tissue Eng Part A, 26 (13-14), 2020.

Abstract | Links:

Talagas M, Lebonvallet N, Berthod F, Misery L

Cutaneous nociception: Role of keratinocytes

Journal Article

Exp Dermatol, 28 (12), 2019.

Abstract | Links:

Muller Q, Beaudet MJ, De Serres-Berard T, Bellenfant S, Flacher V, Berthod F

Development of an innervated tissue-engineered skin with human sensory neurons and Schwann cells differentiated from iPS cells

Journal Article

Acta Biomater, 82 , 2018.

Abstract | Links:

Girard D, Laverdet B, Buhe V, Trouillas M, Ghazi K, Alexaline M, Egles C, Misery L, Coulomb B, Lataillade JJ, Berthod F, Desmouliere A

Biotechnological Management of Skin Burn Injuries: Challenges and Perspectives in Wound Healing and Sensory Recovery

Journal Article

Tissue Eng Part B Rev, 23 (1), 2017.

Abstract | Links:

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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
  • Réparation des lésions des nerfs périphériques par génie tissulaire, from 2021-04-01 to 2026-03-31

Recently finished projects

  • 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
  • Rôle du système nerveux sensitif sur la régénération de tissus vascularisés, from 2021-04-01 to 2022-03-31
  • 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