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Martin Parent,

Full Professor
Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Faculty of medicine
Université Laval

Study of the neural circuits involved in Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases

Professor Martin Parent studies neural circuits within a specific set of brain structures, called basal ganglia, which play a crucial role in the control of movement. His team is particularly interested in the alterations that occur in these circuits that lead to the expression of the symptoms of Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases.

His studies on animal models have led to the identification of key actors whose function is impaired by these neurodegenerative diseases. His discoveries in animals are complemented by the study of brains of people who have suffered from these diseases, and who donated their brains to research after their death. The Research Center's brain bank is an exceptional resource for confirming the presence in humans of factors characterizing neurodegenerative diseases that have been identified in animal models.

The study of animal models also allows Dr. Martin Parent to better understand the mechanism of action of certain treatments, such as deep brain stimulation and the administration of L-Dopa, used to treat Parkinson's disease. One of the side effects that limit the effectiveness of treatment with L-Dopa is the appearance of dyskinesias, which are very disabling involuntary movements, in patients. Dr. Parent's studies have identified important changes in certain neural circuits that occur following the death of the dopamine neurons that characterize Parkinson's disease, and that explain the onset of these dyskinesias.

Dr. Martin Parent's studies have highlighted the remarkable adaptability of the brain, which responds to the loss of dopamine neurons by changes that significantly influence the way neurons communicate with each other.

My research team investigates the anatomical and functional organization of the basal ganglia, a set of subcortical structures involved in motor behavior, in rodents, human and non-human primates. Our research projects aim at characterizing alterations of neuronal circuits that occur in Parkinson's disease and Huntington's chorea using animal models of neurodegenerative diseases and post-mortem human brain. We take advantage of a vast array of methodological approaches that include in vivo electrophysiological recordings followed by tracer injections and three-dimensional reconstructions of neurons, examination of synaptic contacts by electron microscopy, localization of neurotransmitters and analysis of post-mortem human brain tissue using optical and confocal microscopy.

Martin Parent lab

The lab in 2016

Petryszyn S, Di Paolo T, Parent A, Parent M* (2016) The number of striatal cholinergic interneurons expressing calretinin is increased in parkinsonian monkeys. Neurobiology of disease.

Eid L, Parent M* (2016) Chemical anatomy of pallidal afferents in primates. Brain Structure & Function.

Gagnon D, Grégoire L, Di Paolo T, Parent M* (2016) Serotonin hyperinnervation of the striatum with high synaptic incidence in parkinsonian monkeys. Brain Structure & Function.

Eid L, Parent A, Parent M* (2016) Asynaptic feature and heterogeneous distribution of the cholinergic innervation of the primate globus pallidus. Brain Structure & Function, 221:1139-1155.

Parent M*, Parent A (2016) The primate basal ganglia connectome as revealed by single-axon tracing. In: Kathleen S. Rockland (Ed) Axons and brain architecture. Elsevier: Amsterdam, Hollande, p. 27-37.

Eid L, Parent M* (2015) Morphological evidence for dopamine interactions with pallidal neurons in primates. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, 9:111.

Eid L, Parent M* (2015) Cholinergic neurons intrinsic to the primate external pallidum. Synapse, 69:416-419.

Descarries L, Parent M* (2015) Asynaptic and synaptic innervation by acetylcholine neurons in the central nervous system. In: John E. Johnson Jr (Ed) The Synapse: Structure and Function. Neuroscience-Net.

Gagnon D, Parent M* (2014) Distribution of VGLUT3 in highly collateralized axons from the rat dorsal raphe nucleus as revealed by single-neuron reconstructions, PLoS ONE, 9:e87709.

Petryszyn S, Beaulieu JM, Parent A, Parent M* (2014) Distribution and morphological characteristics of striatal interneurons expressing calretinin in mice: A comparison with human and nonhuman primates. J Chemical Neuroanat, 59:51-61.

Eid L, Champigny MF, Parent A, Parent M* (2013) Quantitative and ultrastructural study of the serotonin innervation of the globus pallidus in squirrel monkeys. Eur J Neurosci, 37:1659-1668.

Parent M*, Bédard C, Pourcher E (2013) Dopaminergic innervation of the human subventricular zone: a comparison between Huntington's chorea and Parkinson's disease. Am J Neurodegener Dis. 2:221-227.

Bédard C, Wallman M-J, Pourcher E, Gould PV, Parent A, Parent M* (2011) Serotonin and dopamine striatal innervation in Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s Chorea. Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, 17:593-598.

Parent M*, Wallman M-J, Gagnon D, Parent A (2011) Serotonin innervation of basal ganglia in monkeys and humans. J Chem Neuroanat, 41:256-265.

Wallman M-J, Gagnon D, Parent M* (2011) Serotonin innervation of human basal ganglia. Eur J Neurosci, 33:1519-1532.

Bédard C, Wallman M-J, Pourcher E, Parent A, Parent M* (2010) Intense dopamine innervation of the subventricular zone in Huntington’s disease. NeuroReport, 21:1074-1079.

Basal Ganglia; Parkinson's disease; Huntington's disease; Neuroplasticity; Neuronal transmission; Neuromorphology; Primates.

Martin Parent

(418) 663-5747 x6736


2601 Chemin de la Canardière
Québec (Québec)
G1J 2G3



Recent Publications

Funding / Support / Partners

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