I'm interested in all aspects of molecular neurobiology with a special focus on degenerative neurological disorders and therapeutic targeting, with primary focus on Parkinson's disease (PD) and multiple system atrophy (MSA). Both diseases are chronic and progressive, with MSA being highly progressive. Alpha-synuclein (α-syn) is a protein that is abundant in the human brain more specifically in the presynaptic terminals of neurons. In PD and MSA the soluble α-syn aggregates to form insoluble fibrils in pathological condition characterized by Lewy bodies in neurons in PD and glial cytoplasmic inclusions in oligodendroglial cells in MSA.
My current research is concentrating on the interplay between the immune system and the etiology of PD and MSA with focus on the anti-α-synuclein naturally occurring antibodies (NAbs) producing cells called memory B cells. The memory B cells produce NAbs which make up two-thirds of the human antibodies. In the brain, NAbs have been shown to possess both regulatory as well as protective functions. Evaluating the memory B cell populations in PD and MSA could reveal characteristics of the immune system and could have therapeutic targeting potentials.
A second line on my research interest is the alterations of the embryonic neural signaling pathway, the Wnt pathway, observed in the neurodegenerative disease, Alzheimer's disease. I am currently expanding the project to include a register based cohort study to evaluate the findings as a potential therapeutic target.
Rydbirk R, Elfving B, Andersen MD, Langbøl MA, Folke J, Winge K, Pakkenberg B, Brudek T, Aznar S. Cytokine profiling in the prefrontal cortex of Parkinson's Disease and Multiple System Atrophy patients. Neurobiol Dis. 2017 Oct;106:269-278.
Brudek T, Winge K, Folke J, Christensen S, Fog K, Pakkenberg B, Pedersen LØ.
Autoimmune antibody decline in Parkinson's disease and Multiple System Atrophy; a step towards immunotherapeutic strategies. Mol Neurodegener. 2017 Jun 7;12(1):44.
Rydbirk R, Folke J, Winge K, Aznar S, Pakkenberg B, Brudek T. Assessment of
brain reference genes for RT-qPCR studies in neurodegenerative diseases. Sci Rep. 2016 Nov 17;6:37116.
Olesen MV, Wörtwein G, Folke J, Pakkenberg B. Electroconvulsive stimulation
results in long-term survival of newly generated hippocampal neurons in rats.
Hippocampus. 2017 Jan;27(1):52-60.
G.R. Ren, J. Folke, F. Hauser, C.J.P. Grimmelikhuijzen: The A- and B-type muscarinic receptors from Drosophila melanogaster couple to different second messenger pathways. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015 Jul 10; 462(4):358-64.