Jean-François Perrier Lab

Our lab has a developed a strong expertise in the study of intrinsic properties of individual neurons.

Group Leader

Associate Professor Jean-François Perrier

Department of Neuroscience
Mærsk Tower, room 07-4-59

Phone: +45 2381 2746

Research Focus

Physiological function of neuronal intrinsic properties

Our lab has a developed a strong expertise in the study of intrinsic properties of individual neurons. By means of technique such as patch clamp recording, pharmacology, two-photon imaging in slice preparations from the central nervous, we are investigating how ion channels generate the electrical activity of neurons and how this contributes to the behavior of neural networks. Our recent results include:

- The identification of the first cellular mechanism responsible for the motor fatigue that occurs in the central nervous system. Motoneurons are the final common output of the central nervous system. Their synaptic activation triggers the contraction of the muscle they innervate. Neurons from the raphe nuclei in the brainstem release serotonin on motoneurons by means of synaptic contacts. Their activation facilitates the activity of motoneurons and thereby muscle contraction. During intense physical activity, serotonin release is increased. A spillover occurs and serotonin reaches extrasynaptic receptors located on the axon initial segment of motoneurons. This inhibits action potential genesis and thereby muscle contraction. In that way serotonin prevents excessive muscle contraction (Cotel et al., 2013).


- The discovery of a new pathway that could prevent the development of temporal lobe epilepsy. The subiculum is a part of the temporal lope of the brain, and this is where temporal lobe epilepsy originates. Calcium flowing through CaV3 channels is responsible for the bursts of activity by pyramidal cells in the subiculum. When the activity of the neurons becomes overly synchronous, it results in abnormal electrical fluctuations, which lead to epileptic seizures. We have found that the activation of serotonin 2C receptors decreases the level of bursting by inhibiting CaV3 channels. This discovery could lead to the development of new principles for treating temporal lobe epilepsy (Petersen et al., 2017). See our popularization article in

Role of glial cells in motor control

We are currently investigating how glial cells from the spinal cord contribute to motor control. By means of patch clamp recording combined with calcium imaging of astrocytes, we study the mechanism by which astrocytes modulate synaptic transmission in neuronal networks dedicated to the production of movements.

Quantum engineered magnetic field sensors

We are part of the Interfacing emerging quantum technology with biology and neurophysiology (BioQ) project initiated by the group of Ulrik Lund Andersen at the Technical University of Denmark. The objective of this Interdisciplinary Synergy Programme financed by NovoNordiskFonden is to image magnetic fields in brain tissue with resolutions from millimeter to nanometer-scale.
BioQ is a collaboration bringing together a dedicated team of quantum physicists and neurophysiologists from partners DTU Physics, DTU Electrical Engineering, Copenhagen University’s Department of Neuroscience and Hvidovre Hospital’s Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance.

Neurodevelopmental disorders and the synapse

We are part of the Neurodevelopmental disorders and the synapse project headed by Professor Jakob Balslev Sørensen. We will investigate how mutations affecting the synaptic release machinery affect the ratio between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission in the hippocampus and the neocortex. The project is part of the personalized medicine initiative funded by the Lundbeck Foundation.

Key publications

  • Petersen AV, Cotel F, Perrier JF. (2017). Plasticity of the Axon Initial Segment: Fast and Slow Processes with Multiple Functional Roles. Neuroscientist, Front Cell Neurosci. 2017 Mar 7;11:60. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2017.00060. eCollection 2017.
  • Petersen AV, Jensen CS, Crépel V, Falkerslev M, Perrier JF (2017). Serotonin Regulates the Firing of Principal Cells of the Subiculum by Inhibiting a T-type Ca2+ Current. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 11
  • Christensen RK, Delgado-Lezama R, Russo RE, Lind BL, Loeza-Alcocer E, Rath R, Fabbiani G, Schmitt N, Lauritzen M, Petersen AV, Carlsen EM, Perrier JF (2018). Spinal dorsal horn astrocytes release GABA in response to synaptic activation. J Physiol, 596(20):4983-4994.
  • Perrier JF, Cotel F (2015). Serotonergic modulation of spinal motor control. Current Opinion of Neurobiology, 33: 1-7.
  • Cotel F, Exley R, Cragg SJ, Perrier JF (2013). Serotonin spillover onto the axon initial segment of motoneurons induces central fatigue by inhibiting action potential initiation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 110(12):4774-9.