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Prof. Dr. Gabor Petzold
© DZNE / Frommann

News categories: Honors & Funding

Research on the Brain’s Detox System

Bonn Neurologist Involved in Transatlantic Research Consortium on Brain Clearance

Bonn, August, 17th, 2023. Prof. Gabor Petzold, a neuroscientist at DZNE and University Hospital Bonn (UKB), is part of a new US and European network of excellence funded by the Leducq Foundation with a total of US$ 8 million. Of this, about US$ 400,000 go to Bonn. The consortium will investigate the role of so-called brain clearance in cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA). This condition is a major cause of hemorrhagic stroke, as well as an important factor in certain forms of dementia. As the population ages, CAA is on the rise. Effective disease-modifying interventions do not yet exist, so it is hoped that this network of excellence will lead to new therapeutic approaches in the long term.

In a healthy individual, the brain’s waste removal system works automatically during sleep, flushing out toxins and waste products of brain metabolism by transporting these out of the brain along the blood vessels. But a malfunction of this brain clearance can lead to an accumulation of harmful substances in the brain and dysfunctions in neurons, thus promoting the development of neurodegenerative diseases. For example, there is evidence that a defective disposal of waste products – including a protein called “amyloid” – play an important role in the development of CAA. “But there are still unanswered questions about how this process works,” says Prof. Gabor Petzold, head of UKB's Vascular Neurology Department and research group leader at DZNE. “Deciphering the mechanisms involved in brain clearance will improve the understanding of CAA and thus other neurodegenerative diseases.”

Hope for more Insights into Brain Clearance and CAA

The new consortium intends to apply research findings to healthcare in a
translational approach and to investigate ways of eliminating amyloid
deposition in CAA. To this end, the involved scientists aim to establish
a better understanding of brain clearance along blood vessels as well
as of CAA, and to transfer experimental findings from rodent models to
the human brain. In addition, relevant driving forces of these processes
are to be identified and tested in patient studies to improve the
brain’s waste disposal.

The consortium is expected to officially begin work on Jan. 1, 2024. It includes researchers from the U.S. and Europe:


Matthias VAN OSCH, Leiden University Medical Center (Netherlands)
Susanne VAN VELUW, Massachusetts General Hospital (USA)


Erik BAKKER, Amsterdam University Medical Center (Netherlands)
Helene BENVENISTE, Yale University (USA)
Roxana CARARE, University of Southampton (UK)
Steven GREENBERG, Massachusetts General Hospital (USA)
Jeffrey ILIFF, University of Washington (USA)
Sylvie LORTHOIS, Institut de Mécanique des Fluides de Toulouse (France)
Gabor PETZOLD, Universitätsklinikum Bonn (UKB) & Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen (DZNE) (Germany)
Andy SHIH, University of Washington (USA)
William VAN NOSTRAND, University of Rhode Island Foundation (USA)


Prof. Dr. Gabor Petzold

German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)

Venusberg-Campus 1/99
53127 Bonn


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