In addition to being a senior investigator at the CHU de Quebec–Université Laval Research Center and professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy at Laval University, Dr. Di Paolo is also an associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada. She received the Janssen-Ortho pharmaceutical research award from the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada (2002); the Heinz Lehmann prize from the Canadian College of Neuopsychopharmacology, 2003; distinctions: Femmes réussite region Chaudière Appalache, Journal Économique de Québec, 2004, Femme de mérite, YWCA of Québec, Science and technology category, 2006, Empreintes d’elles, YWCA, honoring 400 women, 400th anniversary of Québec City, 2008 and the Diamond prize for excellence in Fundamental Research, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec, Québec City, 2015.
Dr. Di Paolo has published over 295 peer-reviewed articles and 470 summaries. Her research interest is on Parkinson’s disease and L-Dopa-induced dyskinesias in the post-mortem human brains of Parkinson’s disease patients, non-human primates, and rodent models of Parkinson. This research was and is currently funded by the CIHR, NSERC, Parkinson Society Canada, CQDM, NIH and contracts from Prexton Therapeutics, Novartis, and Merck Serono.
In recent years, her research has focused on the glutamatergic neurotransmission and the implication of ionotropic and metabotropic glutamate receptors. Various specific antagonists, positive and negative allosteric modulators of glutamate receptors were investigated to inhibit or prevent the development of L-Dopa-induced dyskinesias. Drugs of various pharmacological activities are also investigated in her laboratory including, serotoninergic drugs, omega-3, plasmalogens and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). She recently investigated the effect of a subthalamic lesion on L-Dopa-induced dyskinesias in parkinsonian monkeys, and is now working on the effect of deep stimulation in this area of the brain.
A major research endeavour in her laboratory is also to investigate neuroprotection in a mouse model of Parkinson’s Disease. Repurposing drugs used to treat various endocrine conditions were found to be neuroprotective such as estrogen, progesterone, the selective estrogen receptor modulator raloxifene, and the 5α-reductase inhibitor, dutasteride. Novel non-genomic mechanisms of action were investigated in this neuroprotection, including the implication of the membrane estrogen receptor (GPER1) and the effect of cholesterol on membrane microviscosity.
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Neuroactive steroids and Parkinson's diseaseJournal Article
Curr Opin Endocr Metab Res, 22 , 2022.
Liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry methods for the selective and sensitive determination of 24S-hydroxycholesterol, its sulfate, and/or glucuronide conjugates in plasmaJournal Article
J Mass Spectrom, 57 (5), 2022.
Prevention of L-Dopa-Induced Dyskinesias by MPEP Blockade of Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor 5 Is Associated with Reduced Inflammation in the Brain of Parkinsonian MonkeysJournal Article
Cells, 11 (4), 2022.
Androgens and Parkinson's Disease: A Review of Human Studies and Animal ModelsJournal Article
Androg Clin Res Ther, 2 (1), 2021.
Effect of sex and gonadectomy on brain MPTP toxicity and response to dutasteride treatment in miceJournal Article
Neuropharmacology, 201 , 2021.
Microglial Implications in SARS-CoV-2 Infection and COVID-19: Lessons From Viral RNA Neurotropism and Possible Relevance to Parkinson's DiseaseJournal Article
Front Cell Neurosci, 15 , 2021.
Remodeling microglia to a protective phenotype in Parkinson's disease?Journal Article
Neurosci Lett, 735 , 2020.
Levodopa partially rescues microglial numerical, morphological, and phagolysosomal alterations in a monkey model of Parkinson's diseaseJournal Article
Brain Behav Immun, 90 , 2020.
Neuroprotection and immunomodulation of progesterone in the gut of a mouse model of Parkinson's diseaseJournal Article
J Neuroendocrinol, 32 (1), 2020.
Drug repurposing: Old drugs, new tricks to fast track drug development for the brainJournal Article
Neuropharmacology, 147 , 2019.
- Sex-specific investigations of Parkinson's disease mouse models: application for gonadal drugs repurposing, from 2018-10-01 to 2023-03-31
Recently finished projects
- Mechanisms of therapeutic efficacy of deep brain stimulation in Parkinson's disease, from 2015-07-01 to 2020-06-30
- Modulation des enzymes 5alpha reductase dans des modèles animaux du Parkinson, from 2021-12-01 to 2022-03-31