Martine Tetrault, PhD


Martine Tetrault, PhD

Name of Institution:

Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada

Project Title:

Regulation of aberrant immunity in Parkinson’s disease by stearoyl-CoA desaturase

Investigator Bio:

Dr. Martine Tetreault is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Université de Montreal and a researcher at the Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CRCHUM) since January 2018. She completed her PhD in Molecular Biology at Université de Montreal and a post-doctoral fellow in Human Genetics at McGill University in Montreal. As an independent researcher, Dr. Tetreault has built a translational research program centered on analysis of multiple large biological data sets to study neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases. Using this approach, Dr Tetreault seeks to increase the ability to diagnose disease and to uncover novel mechanisms associated with disease progression and phenotypic variability, with the goal of identifying biomarkers and/or therapeutic targets.


In this project, we will study fat metabolism in peripheral blood immune cells of people affected with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and healthy controls and see if a fat-altering drug can reduce the inflammatory signals in these cells.


PD is most well-known for its effects on the brain. More recently however, inflammatory and metabolic changes in the body (detected in the blood and gut for example) have come to the forefront of PD research. It has been shown that patients with PD have increased blood inflammation markers and altered lipid metabolism. It is not known however, if lipids play a direct role in the body’s inflammatory response in PD.


We will 1) measure the expression of the certain genes involved in monounsaturated fatty acid production (e.g. stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD)) in human peripheral blood immune cells from people with PD and healthy controls; 2) quantify the lipid species present in peripheral blood immune cells of people with PD; and 3) determine if lowering monounsaturated fatty acids using an SCD inhibitor in peripheral immune cells can dampen the aberrant inflammatory response in PD.

Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease:

This study will help us understand if directly altering fat metabolism in peripheral immune cells can be an effective treatment for PD.