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Our team focuses on glutamate transport, with emphasis on system xc-, in health and disease. We have ongoing projects on the role of system xc- or the cystine/glutamate antiporter in e.g. Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and (central effects of) pancreatic cancer (collaboration with Dr. I. Rooman, VUB). Via different collaborations we study system xc- in cortical plasticity (collaboration with Dr. L. Arckens, KULeuven), spinal cord injury (collaboration with Dr. C. Nicaise, UNamur) and neuropathic pain (collaboration with Dr. E. Hermans, UCLouvain). In most of these projects, neuro-immune communication is receiving increasing attention. Our overall hypothesis that inhibition of system xc- might be a therapeutic strategy to treat (age-related) diseases that are characterized by excitotoxicity and neuroinflammation, also necessitates research towards the importance of system xc- in normal (healthy) brain functioning. As such, we are investigating how system xc- regulates glutamatergic transmission and plasticity under physiological conditions (collaboration with Dr. L. Ris, UMONS). Finally, we study the involvement of system xc- in the process of brain ageing, and how this is impacted by peripheral immune senescence.


Ann Massie

C4N researcherS

Liselotte Mackens

Olaya Lara

Pauline Janssen

Laura De Pauw

Eduard Bentea

Gamze Ates