What we do
Studying neuro-vascular interactions is essential to gain a better understanding of brain and mind health. Indeed, the brain is highly dependent on a steady supply of blood, which carries oxygen and nutrients, and therefore this noble organ is particularly vulnerable to inherited and acquired cerebrovascular failures.
Over the years, Dr. Lacoste has developed an expertise focused on elucidating the mechanisms of cerebrovascular network formation, function, and remodeling in various health and disease contexts. From the Lacoste lab we investigate:
- How cerebrovascular networks form properly after birth;
- What mechanisms underlie their plasticity;
- How their integrity is altered in neurological conditions; and
- How targeting cerebrovascular remodeling may offer innovative therapeutic options throughout life.
Ultimately, identifying key cellular and molecular mediators of cerebrovascular plasticity will lead to important findings about structural and functional determinants of vascular health, an essential pre-requisite for the development of transformative strategies for neuroprotection.
Our research focuses on solving fundamental problems with state-of-the-art approaches and a strong translational perspective, and includes a combination of anatomical, physiological, biochemical and genetic approaches.
- Development, structure and plasticity of neurovascular networks: cerebrovascular patterning; physiological and pathological remodeling of the neurovascular unit.
- Cerebrovascular physiology: function and permeability of brain blood vessels.
- Neurological disorders: stroke, vascular dementia, Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury, autism.
- Neuroanatomy and imaging: histology for light, confocal and electron microscopy (TEM).
- Mouse genetics: use of reporter lines and of constitutive/conditional mutations.
- Neuropharmacology & behavior in mice: acute/chronic treatments, assessment of cognitive function.
- Molecular biology: in vivo and in vitro analysis of signalling pathways involved in angiogenesis, neuroinflammation, and intracellular trafficking.
Dr. Baptiste Lacoste's research career started at University of Bordeaux (France) where he developed his passion for neurobiology, for instance studying Parkinson’s disease-associated neuropathological deficits in a mouse model of the disease. Seeking new scientific and life challenges, Dr. Lacoste left France and pursued his graduate training at University of Montreal (2003-2009) under the supervision of Dr. Laurent Descarries. His M.Sc.-Ph.D. work allowed him to acquire a solid expertise in neuroanatomy and neurobiology, while investigating the trafficking of substance P receptors using pharmacology and electron microscopy. Desiring to expand his knowledge in neurobiology of disease, he continued his training with a first postdoc position at the Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University (2009-2012). From Dr. Edith Hamel’s lab, he investigated the involvement of bradykinin B1 receptor in the cerebrovascular and cognitive deficits associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), using transgenic AD mice, neuropharmacology, neuroanatomy, biochemistry, cerebrovascular physiology and animal behavior. During this postdoc, Dr. Lacoste developed a new passion for vascular biology, which motivated him to further investigate the intimate relationships between neuronal and vascular systems in the healthy and diseased brain. To gain a thorough understanding of neurovascular interactions from a developmental (and genetic) point of view, Dr. Lacoste continued with a second postdoc in Boston at Harvard Medical School (2012-2015). From Dr. Chenghua Gu’s lab, he examined the influence of neural activity on cerebrovascular patterning during postnatal development, as well as the mechanisms governing blood-brain barrier formation and integrity. This allowed him to deepen his knowledge of vascular biology and imaging techniques, and to learn the power of mouse genetics. Along his training, Dr. Lacoste thus established an original research niche based on the conviction that studying neurovascular interactions in the healthy and diseased brain is a very promising avenue in neurobiology at both basic and translational levels.
- Almasi S., Xu X., Ben-Zvi A., Lacoste B., Gu C., Miller E. (2016). Joint volumetric extraction and enhancement of vasculature from low-SNR 3-D fluorescence microscopy images. Pattern Recognition. [ePub]
- Bisht K., Sharma K., Lacoste B., Tremblay M-E. (2016). Dark microglia: why are they dark?. Communicative & Integrative Biology. [ePub]
- Lacoste B. and Gu C. (2015) Control of cerebrovascular patterning by neural activity during postnatal development. Mech Dev, 138 Pt 1:43-9. PMID: 26116138
- Lacoste B., Angeloni D., Dominguez-Lopez S., Calderoni S., Mauro A., Fraschini F., Descarries L., and Gobbi G. (2015) Anatomical and cellular localization of melatonin MT1 and MT2 receptors in the adult rat brain. J Pineal Res, 58(4):397-417. PMID: 25726952
- Almasi S., Xu X., Ben-Zvi A., Lacoste B., Gu C., and Miller E.L. (2015) A novel method for identifying a graph-based representation of 3-D microvascular networks from fluorescence microscopy image stacks. Med Image Anal, 20(1):208-23. PMID: 25515433
- Lacoste B., Comin C.H., Ben-Zvi A., Kaeser P.S., Xu X., da F. Costa L., and Gu C. (2014) Sensory-related neural activity regulates the structure of vascular networks in the cerebral cortex. Neuron, 83(5):1117-130. PMID: 25155955
- Ben-Zvi A., Lacoste B., Kur E., Andreone B.J., Yan H., and Gu C. (2014) Mfsd2a is critical for the formation and function of the blood brain barrier. Nature, 509(7501):507-11. PMID: 24828040
- Lopez-Canul M., Palazzo E., Dominguez-Lopez S., Luongo L., Lacoste B., Comai S., Bocella S., Angeloni D., Fraschini F., Spadoni G., Bedini A., Tarzia G., Maione S., Granado-Sotos V., and Gobbi G. (2015) Selective Melatonin MT2 receptor agonists relieve neuropathic pain through modulation of brainstem descending antinociceptive pathways. Pain. 156(2):305-17. PMID: 25599452
- Andreone B., Lacoste B., and Gu C. (2015) Neuronal and vascular interactions. Annu Rev Neurosci, 8(38):25-46. PMID: 25782970
- Gelfand M., Hagan N.A., Tata A., Oh W.J., Lacoste B., Kang K., Kopycinska J., Bischoff J., Wang J., and Gu C. (2014) Neuropilin-1 functions as a VEGFR2 co-receptor to guide developmental angiogenesis independent of ligand binding. eLife, 3:e03720. PMID: 25244320
- Gupta A., Lacoste B., Pistel P.J., Ingram D.K., Hamel E., Alaoui-Jamali M.A., Szarek W.A., Vlahakis J.Z., Jie S., Song W., and Schipper H.M. (2014) Neurotherapeutic effects of novel HO-1 inhibitors in vitro and in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. J Neurochem, 131(6):778-90. PMID:25111043
- Lacoste B., Tong X-K., Lahjouji K., Couture R., and Hamel E. (2013) Cognitive and cerebrovascular improvements following kinin B1 receptor blockade in Alzheimer’s disease mice. J Neuroinflamm, 10(1):57. PMID: 23642031
- Toussay X., Basu K., Lacoste B., and Hamel E. (2013) Locus coeruleus stimulation recruits a broad cortical neuronal network and increases cortical perfusion. J Neurosci, 33(8):3390-401. PMID:23426667
- Bambico F.R., Lacoste B., Hattant P.R., and Gobbi G. (2013) Father absence in the monogamous California mouse impairs social behavior and modifies dopamine and glutamate synapses in the medial prefrontal cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 25(5):1163-75. PMID: 24304503
- Ochoa-Sanchez R., Comai S., Lacoste B., Bambico F.R., Dominguez-Lopez S., Spadoni G., Rivara S., Bedini A., Angeloni D., Fraschini F., Mor M., Tarzia G., Descarries L., and Gobbi G. (2011) Promotion of non-rapid eye movement sleep and activation of reticular thalamic neurons by a novel MT2 melatonin receptor ligand. J Neurosci, 31(50):18439-52. PMID: 22171046
- Lacoste B., Riad M., Ratté M.O., Boye S.M., Lévesque D., and Descarries L. (2009) Trafficking of neurokinin-1 receptors in serotonin neurons is controlled by substance P within the rat dorsal raphe nucleus. Eur J Neurosci, 29(12):2303-14. PMID: 19490080
- Mechawar N.*, Lacoste B.*, Yu W., Srivastava L.K., and Quirion R. (2007) Developmental profile of neuregulin receptor ErbB4 in postnatal rat cerebral cortex and hippocampus. Neuroscience, 148(1):126-39. PMID: 17630218
- Lacoste B., Riad M., and Descarries L. (2006) Immunocytochemical evidence for the existence of substance P receptor (NK1) in serotonin neurons of rat and mouse dorsal raphe nucleus. Eur J Neurosci, 23(11):2947-58. PMID: 16819984