Periodic Reporting for period 2 - FUNCOPLAN (Functions of plasticity in adult-born neurons)
Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2020-05-31
This question is important because it pertains to new cells being added to old brain networks. This is precisely the kind of scenario that occurs in many attempts to repair the brain after injury or disease, where new brain cells are added to dysfunctional networks. By studying a phenomenon where such addition of new neurons happens naturally in the brain, we hope to learn lessons that will prove useful when trying to add new neurons to damaged brains in a clinical setting.
Our overall objectives are to: 1) Describe whether adult-born dopaminergic cells in the olfactory bulb are especially plastic when they are immature; 2) Characterise the effects of any such plasticity on the sensory response properties of adult-born dopaminergic neurons – i.e. does their plasticity change the way that they respond to smell stimuli? And finally 3) Precisely control activity in adult-born dopaminergic cells to understand how their plasticity might change the way that whole networks process sensory information. Are extra-plastic immature adult-born neurons crucial to the way in which the brain detects smells?