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Blue Brain Seminar - Normal function and dendropathologies of pyramidal neurons in the anterior cingulate cortex

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Date and time 09.09.2019 15:0016:00  
Place and room
Speaker Thomas Nevian
Category Conferences - Seminars
Bio: Thomas Nevian studied physics and biophysics in Heidelberg, Germany, St. Andrews, UK and at the Cornell University, USA. He performed his PhD work with Prof. Dr. Bert Sakmann at the Max-Planck-Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, investigating the calcium dynamics in dendrites of cortical neurons. After his dissertation in 2003 and two further years as post-doc in Heidelberg, he became a group leader in the Department of Physiology at the University of Bern. In 2010 he received a Research-Professorship of the Swiss National Science Foundation. In 2012 he was appointed Tenure-Track-Assistentprofessor and since 2014 he is Full Professor of Physiology at the University of Bern. His groundbreaking research in Neuroscience was awarded with the Pfizer Research Prize twice (2008, 2016) and in 2012 he received the Theodor-Kocher-Preis as best young researcher of the University of Bern. In 2015 he received an ERC-Consolidator grant to study the neuronal networks involved in pain processing in the cerebral cortex. He is associated to the Center for Cognition, Learning and Memory (CCLM), the Bern Network for Epilepsy, Sleep and Consciousness (BENESCO) and he is a member of the steering comittee of the Clinical Neurosciences Bern.

Abstract: The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is an important brain area for pain perception. Particularly, it is involved in the affective/emotional processing of a painful experience. In chronic pain this brain area becomes hyperactive. We are investigating the underlying mechanisms on the cellular and network level that result in the chronification of pain. Firstly, the basic properties of dendritic function of layer 5 (L5) pyramidal neurons, the principal output cells of the ACC to subcortical brain regions, will be presented. We found that the dendritic properties in the ACC differ from those of pyramidal neurons in the somatosensory cortex. L5 pyramidal neuron dendrites possess particular low-pass filtering properties that ensures very good propagation of slow signals of dendritic origin towards the soma. Secondly, we investigated dendritic changes in the condition of chronic pain and found a down regulation of the hyperpolarization and cyclic nucleotide dependent ion channel (HCN channel). This activity-dependent „dendropathology“ resulted in increased summation of excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs). Finally, invivo calcium imaging of network function in the ACC revealed that the increase in cellular excitability is reflected in increased network activity.

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  • General public
  • Free

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