Martin Parent


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.

Research Team

Bilodeau A et al. (2022) Microscopy analysis neural network to solve detection, enumeration, and segmentation from image-level annotations. Nature Machine Intelligence.

Petryszyn S et al. (2021) The density of calretinin striatal interneurons is decreased in 6-OHDA-lesioned mice. Brain Structure and Function.

Coulombe V et al. (2021) A topographic atlas of the human brainstem in the ponto-mesencephalic junction plane. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy.

Bingham CS et al. (2021) Histology-driven model of the macaque hyperdirect pathway. Brain Structure and Function.

Ducrot C et al. (2021) Dopaminergic neurons establish a distinctive axonal arbor with a majority of non-synaptic terminals. The FASEB Journal.

DePaoli D et al. (2020) The rise of Raman spectroscopy in neurosurgery: a review. J Biomed Opt.

Hamadjida A et al. (2020) The highly-selective mGlu2 receptor positive allosteric modulator, LY-487,379 alleviates L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia in the 6-OHDA-lesioned rat model of Parkinson’s disease. Eur J Neurosci.

Syal C et al. (2020) Dysregulated expression of monoacylglycerol lipase is a marker for anti-diabetic drug metformin-targeted therapy to correct impaired neurogenesis and spatial memory in Alzheimer's disease. Theranostics.

Lecours C et al. (2020) Levodopa partially rescues microglial numerical, morphological, and phagolysosomal alterations in a monkey model of Parkinson's disease. Brain Behav Immun.

Gan-Or Z et al. (2020) The Quebec Parkinson Network: A researcher-patient matching platform and multimodal biorepository. Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.

Bressan C et al. (2020) The dynamic interplay between ATP/ADP levels and autophagy sustain neuronal migration in vivo. eLife.

DePaoli D et al. (2020) Anistropic light scattering from myelinated axons in the spinal cord. Neurophotonics.

Goetz L et al. (2019) Deep brain stimulation of the pedunculopontine nucleus area in Parkinson's disease: anatomo-clinical correlations and optimal target. J Neurosurg.

Petersen MV et al. (2019) Holographic reconstruction of axonal pathways in the human brain. Neuron.

DePaoli D et al. (2019) Convolutional neural networks for spectroscopic analysis in retinal oximetry. Scientific Reports.

El Hajj H et al. (2019) Ultrastructural evidence of microglial heterogeneity in Alzheimer’s disease amyloid pathology. Journal of Neuroinflammation.

Khlghatyan J et al. (2019) High sensitivity mapping of cortical dopamine D2 receptor expressing neurons. Cereb Cortex.

DePaoli D et al. (2019) Intraoperative fiber-optic guidance during chronic electrode implantation in deep brain stimulation neurosurgery: Proof of concept in primates. Journal of Neurosurgery.

DePaoli D et al. (2018) Intact primate brain tissue identification using a completely fibered coherent Raman spectroscopy system. Neurophotonics.

Lecours C et al. (2018) Microglial implication in Parkinson’s disease: loss of beneficial physiological roles or gain of inflammatory functions? Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. Front Cell Neurosci.

Coudé D et al. (2018) Single-axon tracing of the corticosubthalamic hyperdirect pathway in primates. Brain Structure & Function.

Gagnon D et al. (2018) Evidence for sprouting of dopamine and serotonin axons in the pallidum in parkinsonian monkeys. Frontiers in Neuroamatomy.

Petryszyn S et al. (2018) The calretinin interneurons of the striatum: Comparisons between rodents and primates in normal and pathological conditions. Journal of Neural Transmission.


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

(418) 663-5747 x 26736


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



Recent Publications

Funding / Support / Partners

logo FRQ-S logo ctrn logo fci logo cihr irsc logo nserc logo MESISentinelle nord