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Merson T.D.,Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health | Bourne J.A.,Monash University
International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology | Year: 2014

Ischaemic stroke is among the most common yet most intractable types of central nervous system (CNS) injury in the adult human population. In the acute stages of disease, neurons in the ischaemic lesion rapidly die and other neuronal populations in the ischaemic penumbra are vulnerable to secondary injury. Multiple parallel approaches are being investigated to develop neuroprotective, reparative and regenerative strategies for the treatment of stroke. Accumulating evidence indicates that cerebral ischaemia initiates an endogenous regenerative response within the adult brain that potentiates adult neurogenesis from populations of neural stem and progenitor cells. A major research focus has been to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie the potentiation of adult neurogenesis and to appreciate how interventions designed to modulate these processes could enhance neural regeneration in the post-ischaemic brain. In this review, we highlight recent advances over the last 5 years that help unravel the cellular and molecular mechanisms that potentiate endogenous neurogenesis following cerebral ischaemia and are dissecting the functional importance of this regenerative mechanism following brain injury. This article is part of a Directed Issue entitled: Regenerative Medicine: the challenge of translation. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Hol E.M.,University Utrecht | Hol E.M.,An institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and science | Hol E.M.,University of Amsterdam | Pekny M.,Gothenburg University | And 2 more authors.
Current Opinion in Cell Biology | Year: 2015

Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) is the hallmark intermediate filament (IF; also known as nanofilament) protein in astrocytes, a main type of glial cells in the central nervous system (CNS). Astrocytes have a range of control and homeostatic functions in health and disease. Astrocytes assume a reactive phenotype in acute CNS trauma, ischemia, and in neurodegenerative diseases. This coincides with an upregulation and rearrangement of the IFs, which form a highly complex system composed of GFAP (10 isoforms), vimentin, synemin, and nestin. We begin to unravel the function of the IF system of astrocytes and in this review we discuss its role as an important crisis-command center coordinating cell responses in situations connected to cellular stress, which is a central component of many neurological diseases. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Pekny M.,Gothenburg University | Pekna M.,Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Physiological Reviews | Year: 2014

Astrocytes are the most abundant cells in the central nervous system (CNS) that provide nutrients, recycle neurotransmitters, as well as fulfill a wide range of other homeostasis maintaining functions. During the past two decades, astrocytes emerged also as increasingly important regulators of neuronal functions including the generation of new nerve cells and structural as well as functional synapse remodeling. Reactive gliosis or reactive astrogliosis is a term coined for the mor-phological and functional changes seen in astroglial cells/astrocytes responding to CNS injury and other neurological diseases. Whereas this defensive reaction of astrocytes is conceivably aimed at handling the acute stress, limiting tissue damage, and restoring homeostasis, it may also inhibit adaptive neural plasticity mechanisms underlying recovery of function. Understanding the multifaceted roles of astrocytes in the healthy and diseased CNS will undoubtedly contribute to the development of treatment strategies that will, in a context-dependent manner and at appropriate time points, modulate reactive astrogliosis to promote brain repair and reduce the neurological impairment. © 2014 the American Physiological Society. Source

Palmer L.M.,Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Brain Research Bulletin | Year: 2014

Neurons have intricate dendritic morphologies which come in an array of shapes and sizes. Not only do they give neurons their unique appearance, but dendrites also endow neurons with the ability to receive and transform synaptic inputs. We now have a wealth of information about the functioning of dendrites which suggests that the integration of synaptic inputs is highly dependent on both dendritic properties and neuronal input patterns. It has been shown that dendrites can perform non-linear processing, actively transforming synaptic input into Na+ spikes, Ca2+ plateau spikes and NMDA spikes. These membrane non-linearities can have a large impact on the neuronal output and have been shown to be regulated by numerous factors including synaptic inhibition. Many neuropathological diseases involve changes in how dendrites receive and package synaptic input by altering dendritic spine characteristics, ion channel expression and the inhibitory control of dendrites. This review focuses on the role of dendrites in integrating and transforming input and what goes wrong in the case of neuropathological diseases. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Dendrites and Disease'. © 2013 Elsevier Inc. Source

Howells D.W.,Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health | Sena E.S.,University of Edinburgh | Macleod M.R.,University of Edinburgh
Nature Reviews Neurology | Year: 2014

Translational neuroscience is in the doldrums. The stroke research community was among the first to recognize that the motivations inherent in our system of research can cause investigators to take shortcuts, and can introduce bias and reduce generalizability, all of which leads ultimately to the recurrent failure of apparently useful drug candidates in clinical trials. Here, we review the evidence for these problems in stroke research, where they have been most studied, and in other translational research domains, which seem to be bedevilled by the same issues. We argue that better scientific training and simple changes to the way that we fund, assess and publish research findings could reduce wasted investment, speed drug development, and create a healthier research environment. For 'phase III' preclinical studies - that is, those studies that build the final justification for conducting a clinical trial - we argue for a need to apply the same attention to detail, experimental rigour and statistical power in our animal experiments as in the clinical trials themselves. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved. Source

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