- Society for Neuroscience
The Kreitzer laboratory has made important advances in understanding the brain circuitry that goes awry in Parkinson’s disease and dyskinesia. Using a technique called optogenetics, the lab established how activating specific types of cells in the basal ganglia could either mimic or reverse symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Kreitzer’s group further mapped how this circuitry can influence walking, through connections with a part of the brain called the mesencephalic locomotor region. Using high-resolution recording techniques, the lab also identified specific biochemical signaling pathways in these cells that are altered in mouse models of Parkinson’s disease and dyskinesia, and identified how changes in the structure and activity of these cells can lead to unwanted decreases or increases in movement. The Kreitzer laboratory is also beginning to delve into how this same circuitry is implicated in neuropsychiatric diseases such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Tourette syndrome, and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with the aim of identifying specific cell types and circuits that underlie deficits in behavioral switching, repetitive behaviors, tics, and hyperactivity.