Regular scientist at the CHU de Québec-Université Laval Research Center and full professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine at the Laval University Medical School. He is a renowned Canadian scientist who has contributed to the advancement and acceptance of major new scientific concepts. This work has demonstrated that the CNS is a highly immunologically active organ, with complex immune responses, mostly based on innate immune processes. Such responses implicate a continuum of heterogeneous cell types, both inside the CNS, in the periphery, and at their interface, the blood brain barrier (BBB). The goal here is to manipulate such a system to prevent and cure brain diseases. Canadian Research Chair in Neuroimmunology, Twice named Quebec laureate, Radio Canada and Le Soleil (2007 et 2013). Over 21 000 citations and H factor 81.

The immune system at the rescue of brain diseases

The inflammatory response in neurodegenerative diseases has often been linked to progressive neuronal damage. However, mounting evidence now suggests that CNS-resident microglia and circulating monocytes that differentiate into macrophages upon infiltrating the cerebral tissue may exert more beneficial effects on neurons than previously thought. The innate immune system in the brain exhibits a dual nature, as best exemplified by multiple sclerosis (MS) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which are often treated as being brain diseases with similar immune etiologies. In reality, they are rather “Yin and Yang” in that regard.

Thus, the role of the inflammatory response seems highly divergent between MS and AD. On the one hand, the marked and sustained activation of proinflammatory monocytic cells promotes demyelination and axonal loss in MS, but on the other hand, it is the anti-inflammatory (or inactivated) phenotype of these cells that allows CNS amyloid accumulation, neuronal dysfunction and memory decline in AD. This research program is focused on thoroughly unraveling the mechanistic details of the role of the innate immune system in the CNS, and how it can be tackled to exert neuroprotective actions.

Vision: A multidisciplinary approach, integrating innovative discoveries and technologies, to validate the concept of the neuroprotective properties of the innate immune system, to improve brain disease diagnosis and treatment.

Goals: Our main goals are to provide new biomarkers for diagnosis and to obtain proofs-of-concept that will lead to new treatments of brain diseases based on the neuroprotective functions of innate immunity.

Objectives: 1) To decipher the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the intimate control of different compartments of the brain innate immune system. 2) To identify new biomarkers from the analysis of subsets of circulating monocytes in preclinical models of MS and AD. 3) To use and develop complementary models and methods to understand how myeloid cells can be harnessed in exerting neuroprotective actions. 4) To validate new biomarkers and concepts of the beneficial role of the innate immune system in humans.

CHUL
2705, boulevard Laurier
T4-50
Québec, Québec
Canada G1V 4G2
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Fani Maleki A, Cisbani G, Laflamme N, Prefontaine P, Plante MM, Baillargeon J, Rangachari M, Gosselin J, Rivest S

Selective Immunomodulatory and Neuroprotective Effects of a NOD2 Receptor Agonist on Mouse Models of Multiple Sclerosis

Journal Article

Neurotherapeutics, 18 (2), 2021.

Abstract | Links:

Pal M, Lace B, Labrie Y, Laflamme N, Rioux N, Setty ST, Dugas MA, Gosselin L, Droit A, Chrestian N, Rivest S

A founder mutation in the PLPBP gene in families from Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region affected by a pyridoxine-dependent epilepsy

Journal Article

JIMD Rep, 59 (1), 2021.

Abstract | Links:

Lecordier S, Pons V, Rivest S, ElAli A

Multifocal Cerebral Microinfarcts Modulate Early Alzheimer's Disease Pathology in a Sex-Dependent Manner

Journal Article

Front Immunol, 12 , 2021.

Abstract | Links:

Laflamme N, Lace B, Thonta Setty S, Rioux N, Labrie Y, Droit A, Chrestian N, Rivest S

A Homozygous Deep Intronic Mutation Alters the Splicing of Nebulin Gene in a Patient With Nemaline Myopathy

Journal Article

Front Neurol, 12 , 2021.

Abstract | Links:

Cisbani G, Rivest S

Targeting innate immunity to protect and cure Alzheimer's disease: opportunities and pitfalls

Journal Article

Mol Psychiatry, 26 (10), 2021.

Abstract | Links:

Cisbani G, Poggini S, Laflamme N, Pons V, Tremblay MÈ, Branchi I, Rivest S

The Intellicage system provides a reproducible and standardized method to assess behavioral changes in cuprizone-induced demyelination mouse model

Journal Article

Behav Brain Res, 400 , 2021.

Abstract | Links:

Auger JP, Rivest S, Benoit-Biancamano MO, Segura M, Gottschalk M

Inflammatory Monocytes and Neutrophils Regulate Streptococcus suis-Induced Systemic Inflammation and Disease but Are Not Critical for the Development of Central Nervous System Disease in a Mouse Model of Infection

Journal Article

Infect Immun, 88 (3), 2020.

Abstract | Links:

Pons V, Laflamme N, Prefontaine P, Rivest S

Role of Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor Receptor on the Proliferation and Survival of Microglia Following Systemic Nerve and Cuprizone-Induced Injuries

Journal Article

Front Immunol, 11 , 2020.

Abstract | Links:

Lee J, Villarreal OD, Chen X, Zandee S, Young YK, Torok C, Lamarche-Vane N, Prat A, Rivest S, Gosselin D, Richard S

QUAKING Regulates Microexon Alternative Splicing of the Rho GTPase Pathway and Controls Microglia Homeostasis

Journal Article

Cell Rep, 33 (13), 2020.

Abstract | Links:

Pons V, Rivest S

Beneficial Roles of Microglia and Growth Factors in MS, a Brief Review

Journal Article

Front Cell Neurosci, 14 , 2020.

Abstract | Links:

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Active projects

  • Acquisition d’équipements pour les activités de recherche en oncologie de précision au Nouveau Complexe hospitalier, from 2022-03-24 to 2027-03-23
  • Chaire de recherche du Canada en neuroimmunologie, from 2023-07-01 to 2030-06-30
  • Chercheur d'un jour, from 2023-01-01 to 2025-12-31
  • Therapeutic properties of innate immune cells and system for brain diseases, from 2022-04-01 to 2025-03-31

Recently finished projects

  • Chaire de recherche du Canada en neuroimmunologie, from 2016-07-01 to 2023-06-30
  • Chercheur d'un jour, from 2021-01-01 to 2022-12-31
  • Développement de marqueurs génétiques de maladies rares., from 2016-02-11 to 2024-03-31
  • Therapeutic properties of innate immune cells and system for brain diseases., from 2015-07-01 to 2022-06-30
Data provided by the Université Laval research projects registery