Junior Faculty

Department of Neuroscience, KU

Trine L. Toft (MacAulay group);  “TRPV4 – the bridge over troubled (brain) water” 

Abstract: Dysregulated cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) production brings about water accumulation inside the brain and a raise in the intracranial pressure with morphological changes. Till this day the upstream regulatory mechanisms that influence such water production still are still to be defined. In recent times, a water-translocating cotransporter, NKCC1, was identified as a main contributor to CSF formation. Here, I present the regulatory role of a Ca2+ permeable ion channel, TRPV4, in CSF secretion and regulation thereof, and the coupling between TRPV4 activation and NKCC1-mediated CSF secretion.

Jessica Pingel (Nielsen group); ”Muscle contractures – Fiber looping and other peculiar mechanisms”

Abstract: In humans, stiff and bent limbs that are stuck in awkward positions are called contractures, and are common complications after lesions to the central nervous system (O'Dwyer et al., 1996). This includes cerebral palsy, stroke survivors and traumatic brain injury patients. In humans, contractures can develop in both upper- and lower extremities. The severity of contractures can vary and in the worst cases, the joints lose their function entirely. The specific underlying cause for contracture development remains unknown, but it is widely accepted that the cause for contracture formation is multifactorial (Pingel et al., 2016). Over the past 8 years, we have used a variety of techniques in order to investigate the microstructure of muscle contractures including electron microscopy and synchrotron imaging. These analyses revealed several peculiar phenomena including muscle fiber looping and extracellular matrix buckling.

Søren Grubb (Lauritzen group); “The role of precapillary sphincters in protection of the microcirculation”

As we age, our vasculature stiffens, which lowers its ability to dampen cardiac pulse-pressure wave propagation towards the microcirculation. These waves may damage the blood-brain barrier and cause cognitive decline. We have shown the presence of precapillary sphincters in the brain, and now we investigate whether these points of high resistance just upstream of the capillaries have a role in protecting the capillaries against pulse-pressure waves in adult and aged mice.


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