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Molecular and cellular investigation of neuron-astroglia interactions: Understanding brain function and dysfunction

Objective

Astroglial cells are now recognized as active elements in the brain that sense and integrate synaptic signals and, by releasing gliotransmitters, regulate synaptic efficacy and cerebral blood flow. Despite accrued knowledge, many fundamental aspects of neuron-astroglia partnerships remain open, or have been poorly addressed in a functional context in vivo. For example, does astroglia heterogeneity reflect distinct functions? How do astroglial and neuronal networks interact locally and temporally? How does disruption of neuron-glia interactions contribute to brain disorders? Leading European research groups in the field have gathered in NeuroGLIA to address such questions using a multi-disciplinary approach, including transgenic astroglia-subtype specific mice, electrophysiology and high resolution laser scanning microscopy in vitro and in vivo (including awake mice). This will enable the consortium: i) to verify the potential of activated astroglia to signal back to neurons rapidly; ii) to define the spatial-temporal dynamics of neuron–astroglia reciprocal signalling; iii) to clarify the specific function of different astroglial subtypes in modulation of neuronal excitability and transmission, and in the control of neurovascular coupling. NeuroGLIA will also investigate how dysfunction of neuron-astroglia signalling contributes to the pathogenesis of brain disorders, focussing on epilepsy. In animal models of epilepsy, astroglial activity will be analyzed with respect to initiation, maintenance and cessation of epileptiform activity, also in relation to blood flow changes and activation of inflammatory pathways. Importantly, access to living tissue from epilepsy patients, allows NeuroGLIA to investigate neuron-astroglia interactions and its dysregulation in the human brain. NeuroGLIA is thus in the privileged position to unravel fundamental mechanisms of neuron-astroglia signalling in health and disease, opening new perspectives for specific therapeutic strategies.

Field of science

  • /medical and health sciences/basic medicine/neurology/epilepsy
  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/optics/laser physics

Call for proposal

FP7-HEALTH-2007-A
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

CP-FP - Small or medium-scale focused research project

Coordinator

UNIVERSITATSKLINIKUM BONN
Address
Venusberg-campus 1
53127 Bonn
Germany
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 493 404
Administrative Contact
Christian Steinhäuser (Prof.)

Participants (7)

AGENCIA ESTATAL CONSEJO SUPERIOR DEINVESTIGACIONES CIENTIFICAS
Spain
EU contribution
€ 497 580
Address
Calle Serrano 117
28006 Madrid
Activity type
Research Organisations
Administrative Contact
Eusebio Jiménez (Mr.)
CARDIFF UNIVERSITY
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 410 820
Address
Newport Road 30-36
CF24 ODE Cardiff
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Nick Bodycombe (Mr.)
CONSIGLIO NAZIONALE DELLE RICERCHE
Italy
EU contribution
€ 451 384
Address
Piazzale Aldo Moro 7
00185 Roma
Activity type
Research Organisations
Administrative Contact
Giorgio Carmignoto (Dr.)
Klinik Max Planck Institut für Psychiatrie

Participation ended

Germany
EU contribution
€ 410 184
Address
Hofgartenstrasse 8
80539 Muenchen
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Frank Kirchhoff (Dr.)
ACADEMISCH MEDISCH CENTRUM BIJ DE UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM
Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 438 300
Address
Meibergdreef 15
1105AZ Amsterdam
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
F.R. Janssen (Mr.)
EURICE EUROPEAN RESEARCH AND PROJECT OFFICE GMBH
Germany
EU contribution
€ 190 300
Address
Heinrich-hertz-allee 1
66386 St Ingbert
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Claudia Giehl (Ms.)
UNIVERSITAT DES SAARLANDES
Germany
EU contribution
€ 96 478
Address
Campus
66123 Saarbrucken
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Claudia Giehl (Ms.)