Neuroplasticity and Alzheimer’s disease: integrated approach to identify biological and neurophysiological markers

Project funded by Italian Ministry of Health, Ordinary Projects Grant – Ricerca Finalizzata 2013 (RF-2013-02356444)

The goal of this proposal is to characterize genetic, molecular and neurophysiological alterations in Alzheimer’s disease and to determine their impact on cortical neuroplasticity and connectivity through a translational approach. We will study three groups of humans divided in Alzheimer’s disease patients, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) subjects, and healthy controls. The groups will be stratified according to APOE polymorphisms, which are associated to different propensities to develop Alzheimer’s disease, thus classifying subjects in high and low Alzheimer’s risk. Subjects will undergo non-invasive brain stimulations (NIBS) and EEG coregistration. The core idea is that by modifying cortical plasticity using NIBS we will be able to test the neuroplastic capability of the cortical networks in these subjects, thus unveiling any functional alterations of the system. The humans’ studies will be paralleled by animal models studies to identify the molecular and electrophysiological mechanisms underlying tES-induced changes.