Life Sciences is currently going through a time of great development in brain research. Recent publications in journals such as nature reveal a fundamentally different understanding of the function of one type of brain cells, the macroglia. Microglia are a subset of tissue-macrophages that are ubiquitously distributed throughout the entire central nervous system. Long believed to be only of relevance in overt destructive tissue pathology, they are now thought to interact with synapses which they remove when dysfunctional, a process termed ‘‘synaptic stripping.’’ The availability of more sensitive detection techniques, such as positron emission tomography (PET) has allowed the early measurement of the cell responses of microglia in areas with few signs of active pathology. Subtle neuronal injury can induce microglial activation in retrograde and anterograde projection areas remote from the primary lesion focus.
There is also evidence that in cases of long-standing abnormal neuronal activity, such as in patients after limb amputation with chronic pain and phantom sensations, glial activation may occur transsynaptically, that is across more than one synapse. Such neuronally driven glial responses throughout the wider neural network may be related to the emergence central sensitisation in chronic pain states or plasticity phenomena in the cerebral cortex.
Prof Richard Banati’s research is part of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) Life Sciences research and part of the research and educational partnership between ANSTO and the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI).
Thursday 28 February
5-6pm - Refreshments
6-7pm - Lecture
Where: The Auditorium, Melbourne Brain Centre, Corner Royal Parade & Genetics Lane, The University of Melbourne VIC 3010
Click here for more information and to register.