Research objectives and content
The aim of the project is to investigate the synaptic regulation of plateau properties in spinal motoneurons using an in vitro preparation of the turtle spinal cord. I will determine the time course of the synaptically induced facilitation of plateau potentials and identify the presynaptic sources of facilitation. Then I will determine the postsynaptic receptors involved in regulation of plateau potentials (especially metabotropic receptors for glutamate, serotonin and acetylcholine). Finally, I will locate the dendritic domain of facilitation. Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
This study may explain how a limited network of neurons can perform a wide range of functional tasks. I will learn to produce in vitro preparations. Intracellular and wholecell recording techniques and Ca imaging. The results may provide a mechanism for pathological states like spasticity and hypotonia.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
Pharmaceutical industry: The prospect that metabotropic regulation of intrinsic properties is a fundamental part of spinal function opens a search for drugs with more specific effects on states like spasticity and paralysis.