Postdoc symposium
26 april 2019

Postdoc symposium

Neuroscience Symposium

De Neuroscience Symposia worden wekelijks georganiseerd door het Nederlands Herseninstituut. De presentaties worden gegeven door de onderzoekers van het Instituut of door gastsprekers. De titel en de inhoud van het symposium wordt doorgaans in de week voorafgaand aan de presentatie bekend gemaakt. 

Colloquium zaal – Nederlands Herseninstituut

16:00 uur –David Attwell | The role of capillary pericytes in regulating brain energy supply in health and disease
16:45 uur – Discussie en borrel

Brain blood flow is regulated to ensure adequate power for neuronal computation. Blood flow is increased to areas where neurons are active, and this increase underlies non-invasive brain imaging using BOLD fMRI. I will demonstrate that neuronal activity mainly increases cerebral blood flow by dilating capillaries via pericytes, that this involves signalling via astrocytes, and that dilation of capillaries and dilation of arterioles are mediated by different messengers.
Ischaemia leads to pericytes constricting and dying in rigor, thus producing a long-lasting decrease of blood flow, making pericytes a therapeutic target in stroke. I will show that similar events occur in Alzheimer’s Disease: both in humans with dementia who are depositing amyloid  and in a knock-in model of Alzheimer’s disease in mice, capillaries are constricted preferentially at pericyte locations. This constriction is sufficient to approximately halve blood flow and in humans increases with the severity of the disease. Pericyte constriction is a therapeutic target in Alzheimer’s disease.

Short Biography
David Attwell did a first degree in physics and a PhD on the electrophysiology of nerve and muscle cells (with Julian Jack) in Oxford, before spending 2 years in Berkeley studying the retina with Frank Werblin. On returning to the UK, he moved to the Department of Physiology at University College London, where he has remained ever since. He has worked on a wide range of subjects including the properties of glial cells, glutamate transporters, stroke, the formation of myelin by oligodendrocytes, how neuronal computation is powered and the control of cerebral blood flow. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001.