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In the Central Nervous System, astrocytes represent bridging elements between parenchymal and vascular compartments, thereby forming a functional unit (neurovascular, NVU) that might “sense” the brain state, adapt its molecular profile and secrete factors in the bloodstream as a reflection of this state. Moreover, astrocytes modulate astrocyte-to-neuron communication, thereby enabling nerve cells to acquire and store information through learning processes. The discovery of direct reconversion of glia cells into neurons has additionally provided novel insights into the generation of fully functional mature neurons from other cell types, with the potential to develop alternative therapeutic approaches for neurodegenerative brain disorders.
Thus, astrocyte-specific molecular prints may become useful biomarkers of distinct cellular (dys)functions in health and disease. In a translational perspective, their characterization in pathological conditions may support the development of diagnostic tools or the selection of tailored treatment options for individual patients. Finally, glia cell reprogramming may offer valid, less invasive, cell replacement therapies for human disorders.
Goal of this Satellite symposium is to bring together scientists who use different methodological approaches for a better understanding of glial functions to ultimately identify glial-specific molecular signals indicative of selected physiological or pathological states or molecular effectors of cell reprogramming, which may support the development of pharmacological/replacement therapies.
4.-8. April 2022
The second annual GRK retreat took place on the 15th and 16th of October 2021 in Bad Abbach. This retreat gave GRK/B students the opportunity to present the progress of their project after the very first year. Additionally, students who joined the group during the year had the chance to formally present themselves and give an introduction of their topics along with their first results. Combined with the PhD talks, Junior PI Dr. Rohit Menon presented his research regarding epigenetic mechanisms regulating social fear.
Particular interesting this year was the diversity of project presentations which included not only talks but poster sessions as well, allowing PhD students to get familiar with different modalities of presentation. Each oral intervention was followed by animated questions and discussion, which represented a chance for students to hear feedback on their project and get new ideas. Such events are valuable because they allow receiving input from different perspectives and this is an integral part of the richness of our diverse GRK group.
This year, we had the pleasure to have with us guest speakers from the Department of Biological Psychology of Ulm University: Prof. Iris-Tatjana Kolassa and Dr. Matthias Mack. They presented us their research topics, which focus, among others, on post-traumatic stress, the transmission of trauma through generations, the influence of mitochondrial functions on psychiatric disorders and biological parameters during the course of therapy. Their captivating talk was very inspiring and sparked lively discussions.
Another highlight of this retreat was the welcoming of Alice Sanson as a new PhD associate within the GRK 2174. Her project focuses on maternal neglect under the supervision of Prof. Oliver Bosch.
On a different note, the retreat represented also a great opportunity to strengthen the team spirit of the GRK group by spending relaxed time together, whether it was during the evening playing some games or on a nice hike to Weltenburg Abbey Saturday afternoon. This shared free time also allowed to keep discussing each other’s projects and ideas along with future collaborations.
Overall, all participants of the retreat left Bad Abbach with renewed motivation and inspiration together with a great feeling of belonging to a great scientific community within the GRK 2174 group “Neurobiology of Emotion Dysfunctions”.
The DFG has decided to continue the support of our Graduate School on Neurobiology of Social and Emotional Dysfunctions with 13 new PhD projects and 4.6 Mio Euro funding.
"Celebration" of this great event during Corona times
We nicely passed the evaluation by the DFG and the Reviewer panel on 16th December 2020 :). This time, it took place in an ONLINE webex format ...
Viola successfully defended her PhD thesis "The Neural Core of Fear and Anxiety – Commonalities and Differences of Fear and Anxiety Circuits“
Tobi very successfully defended his PhD thesis "Sex-dependent implications of Melanotan II treatment and inflammatory responses following partner loss in the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster)".
From 8th to 9th October 2020, PhD students, PIs and Associates of the GRK 2174 came together for a unique retreat in Eilsbrunn. Why unique? Because it was the first retreat with two generations of PhD students – the already experienced GRK/A and the rather new GRK/B students – and because it was the first retreat in which, due to the current corona pandemic, one could not only participate in person but also via Zoom.
The most important element of this retreat was to give the GRK/B students the opportunity to present their PhD project as well as their aims and plans for the next years to the GRK group including not only their two tandem supervisors, but also other PhD students, postdocs and PIs. Each project presentation was followed by a lively discussion and a vivid exchange of ideas between all participants. Within these discussions, the GRK/B students received not only feedback on both their presentations and their projects, but also numerous helpful tips. The discussions further inspired all participants to look beyond the horizon and consider new directions for their own research projects. Due to the importance of both the GRK/B project presentations and the subsequent discussions, it was of particular concern to us that also tandem supervisors from outside of Regensburg had the opportunity to take part in the retreat without the need to travel to Eilsbrunn. Although the additional live streaming of the presentations via Zoom was a new experience for us, it worked very well and we can conclude that this hybrid retreat was the best type of retreat that we could have done in these challenging times.
Another big aim of the retreat was that GRK/A students, GRK/B students, PIs and Associates get to know each other better. In the course of this, all PIs, who participated personally in the retreat, introduced themselves, their research fields as well as the key methods of their labs. This PI introduction round was of particular interest for the rather new GRK/B students, as it gave them an idea of whom to contact for collaborations or questions on specific topics or methods. Two highlights for all participants of the retreat were surely the two keynote talks of Prof. Dr. Jens Schwarzbach and Prof. Dr. Christian Wetzel, who both presented their current research. Besides learning more about each other on the professional level, there was also plenty of time, especially during the hike on Friday afternoon, to get to know each other better on a personal level. The mixture of two PhD generations further enabled the GRK/B students to benefit from the experiences and tips of the GRK/A students.
Altogether, the retreat definitely strengthened the team spirit of the whole GRK 2174 group and each participant undoubtedly returned home with many new ideas, plans for new interdisciplinary collaborations and a lot of inspiration to continue the research in the field “Neurobiology of Emotion Dysfunctions”.
Cindy successfully defended her PhD thesis on Oxytocin and the regulation of fear.
Magdalena successfully defended her PhD thesis "Effects of oxytocin receptor variants on activated signaling cascades and cellular processes"
Carl was awarded the PhD prize of the Faculty of Biology and Preclinical Medicine at the "Tag der Biowissenschaften" (17.09.2020)
Poster: “Effects of etifoxine on general but not stress related expression of the translocator protein 18kDa (TSPO) in healthy subjects” ECNP Congress (Virtual) 12.09.-15.09.2020
PhD defence: "Investigating the role of the central and the peripheral benzodiazepine receptor in stress and anxiety related parameters"
Lisa-Marie Bahr & PD Dr. med. Caroline Nothdurfter
In August, GRK/A and GRK/B students and some PIs wanted to flee the labs and offices for 2 days to exchange experiences, share ideas and collect fresh inspiration and air in the Bavarian forest. The train ride from Regensburg through lovely countryside to the German-Czech border town Bayrisch-Eisenstein and previous site of the Eiserner Vorhang was a nice experience for us - always keeping good Corona distances. Upon the arrival at the hotel Waldkönig, we started our 4h hiking trail through the National Park, with a stop at the Schwellhäusl to recharge our batteries. The day was rounded off by local dishes, cool drinks and stimulating conversations in a relaxing atmosphere.
After an early breakfast and a second hike we headed back to Regensburg with the Waldbahn, and some of us indeed had to go to the lab again…. but with new energy and inspiration!
Carl very successfully defended his PhD thesis on the role of oxytocin in social fear.
PhD defence: "Septal coding and non-coding RNAs regulated in social fear - The role of lncRNA Meg3 in social fear extinction"
Celia sucessfully defended her PhD thesis: Neurobiological aspects of depression- Antidepressant effects on glia-neuron interaction
Kerstin successfully defended her PhD thesis "Bioenergetics and Major Depressive Disorder - Investigations of Mitochondria Function in a Human Cellular Model"
Felix very successfully defended his PhD thesis about the function of the actin nucleator mitoSPIRE1 in mitochodrial dynamics.
"Neuropeptide Regulation of Socio-Emotional Behaviors"
organized in cooperation with GRK2174 and IMPRS-TP
Carl-Philipp Meinung "Oxytocin rapidly affects astrocytes via cell type-specific regulation of Gem-GTPase" (Poster presentation)
Members of our GRK contribute to the new issue of Blick in die Wissenschaft and report about their current projects on the neurobiology of emotion dysfunctions.
GRK students Kerstin Kuffner and Felix Straub @ the Mitochondria Meeting
The School took place in Como (Italy) - April 9-13, 2018.
Antidepressant drugs require astrocytes to prime an early synaptic pruning and remodelling in the prefrontal cortex
Celia Román, Barbara Di Benedetto, PhD,
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Regensburg, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
Astrocytes are non-professional phagocytes that engulf synapses to remodel neuronal circuits during postnatal developmental stages. Neuropsychiatric disorders such as major depressive disorder (MDD) are characterized by deficits in synaptic communication and neuronal connectivity, which can be reversed by antidepressants (ADs). This suggests a role for astrocyte-mediated phagocytosis in the pathogenesis of these disorders and/or in response to ADs. Aim of this work was to identify astrocyte-dependent molecular triggers of MDD and examine their impact on neuronal synapses upon AD treatments. Recently, MEGF10 emerged as a mediator of astrocyte-dependent synapse elimination in the developing mammalian brain. MEGF10 activation depends on the induction of the MAPK/ERK1/2 pathway, a regulator of cellular plasticity. Our results showed that treatment of astrocytes and neurons with different antidepressants (ADs) led to opposite ERK1/2 activation patterns and a “re-juvenalization” effect in these two cell types. Furthermore, we observed a reduction in synaptic densities in neurons after 48h AD treatment, but only in the presence of astrocytes. This astrocyte-dependent synaptic pruning also occurred in the adult rat prefrontal cortex after 48h treatment with the AD fluoxetine and correlated with increased MEGF10 expression. However, no differences in MEGF10 were evident in the adult brain of an animal model of depression. We therefore propose that ADs favour the remodelling of neuronal circuits in the adult brain by reactivating a ‘’juvenile-like plasticity program’’ characterized by an MEGF10-dependent astrocyte-mediated synaptic reshaping. Finally, we suggest MEGF10 as a pharmacological target for the development of drugs aimed at rescuing synaptic aberrancies.
Oxytocin dynamically regulates astrocytic gap-junction proteins in vivo and in vitro
Carl-Philipp Meinung, Inga D. Neumann
Dept of Behavioral and Molecular Neurobiology, Univ. of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany
Its general anxiolytic and pro-social effects have generated a lot of research interest in the brain-oxytocin (OXT)-system. Binding of OXT to its cognate receptor (OXTR) has been demonstrated to activate various signaling cascades in neurons. However, very little is known about the intracellular consequences of astrocytic OXTR-activation. A characteristic feature of astrocytes is their high level of intercellular connectivity which is accomplished by the formation of gap-junctions via the astrocyte-specific connexin isoforms Cx43, Cx30 and Cx26. We therefore investigated the consequences and mechanisms of OXT-stimulation on astrocytic gap-junction proteins in vivo and in vitro. To this end, synthetic OXT was either administered intracerebroventricularly (icv) in male Wistar-rats or applied to cultured rat primary cortical astrocytes. Immunoblotting, qPCR, immunocytochemistry and scalpel loading-fluorescent dye transfer (SL-DT) were used to assess changes in total connexin protein-levels and -phosphorylation state, mRNA-levels, intracellular localization and gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC), respectively. Within the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and the hippocampus, icv OXT significantly decreased total levels of Cx43 10 min post-administration, while enhancing Cx43-phosphorylation. Conversely, OXT strongly increased total protein levels of Cx30 within the PVN, hippocampus and amygdala after 10 min. In vitro, OXT led to a rapid decrease in Cx43 co-localization with the tight-junction protein ZO1, indicating less gap-junctions at cell/cell-contacts. Furthermore, OXT-exposure caused an acute reduction of GJIC. At later timepoints of OXT-treatment (between 20-30 min), the observed effects on Cx43 level, -phosphorylation state, -co-localization with ZO1 and GJIC recovered to untreated levels. Finally, we found Cx26 mRNA to be down-regulated after 30 min of treatment with OXT. Our observations both in vivo and in vitro support the idea of an acute inhibition of astroglial networks in response to OXT. Although the mechanistical details and physiological consequences of the described findings are still under investigation, our data point towards a highly dynamic and isoform-specific regulation of astrocytic gap-junction proteins by OXT.
Report by Viola Wagner
New Calender is online
Prof. Dr. Hans-Christian Pape, Institut für Physiology, Westfälische Wilhelms Universität, Münster
Title: "The extendet amygdala: What it is and how it regulates responses to unpredictable threat"
19.07.2017, 16:30, Bezirksklinikum Regensburg, Haus 29, Großer Konferenzraum (EG)
Prof. Dr. Beat Lutz, University of Mainz
Title: "Endocannabinoid signalling in hippocampal dependent behaviors"
06.07.2017, 13:30, UR, NWDE_1.113
Weekly GRK seminar is on Tuesdays 17:00 in the seminar room @Neumann Lab (starting Tuesday 11.04.2017)
Morning lectures by Thomas Misgeld (LMU Munich), Christian Wetzel (UR), Matthias Kneussel (UKE Hamurg), Veronica Egger (UR), Inga Neumann (UR), Christian Leibold (LMU Munich), Jens Schwarzbach (UR), Adam Smith (Kansas, USA), and Oliver Bosch (UR).
Keynote lectures by Alcino Silva and Daniela Schiller
Practical classes: Biomedical imaging (Jens Schwarbach), Electrophysiology (Christian Wetzel), Live Cell Imaging (Eugen Kerkhoff), and Rodent behavioral testing (Inga Neumann and Oliver Bosch)
Pressemitteilung Nr. 044/2017, 27. April 2017
Zwei neue Graduiertenkollegs an der Universität Regensburg
Offizieller Start für „Neurobiologie emotionaler Dysfunktionen“ und „Metropolität in der Vormoderne“
Am Mittwoch, 26. April 2017, wurden an der Universität Regensburg zwei neue Graduiertenkollegs vorgestellt. Im Rahmen von zwei Veranstaltungen wurden die beiden Graduiertenkollegs „Neurobiologie emotionaler Dysfunktionen“ und „Metropolität in der Vormoderne“ von Prof. Dr. Udo Hebel, Präsident der Universität Regensburg, offiziell eröffnet.
An der Universität Regensburg gibt es damit fünf DFG-Graduiertenkollegs im natur- und lebenswissenschaftlichen Themenspektrum sowie nun auch ein Graduiertenkolleg in den Geistes- und Kulturwissenschaften. „Die beiden neuen, DFG-geförderten Graduiertenkollegs stellen eine wesentliche Bereicherung für den Forschungsstandort Regensburg dar. Insbesondere ihre interdisziplinäre Ausrichtung erhöht die Anziehungskraft der Universität Regensburg für Nachwuchswissenschaftlerinnen und Nachwissenschaftler aus dem In- und Ausland“, betont Prof. Dr. Udo Hebel, Präsident der Universität Regensburg.
Das Graduiertenkolleg GRK 2174 „Neurobiologie emotionaler Dysfunktionen“ wird über einen Zeitraum von viereinhalb Jahren die Ursachen von Angst- und Depressionserkrankungen und exzessiver Aggression erforschen. Beteiligt sind Forscherinnen und Forscher aus den Bereichen Neurobiologie, Psychologie, Psychiatrie und Neurologie – darüber hinaus internationale Kooperationspartner aus dem In- und Ausland. Sprecherin des Regensburger Verbundes ist Prof. Dr. Inga Neumann, Inhaberin des Lehrstuhls für Tierphysiologie und Neurobiologie an der Universität Regensburg.
Das Graduiertenkolleg GRK 2337 „Metropolität in der Vormoderne“ setzt sich zum Ziel, die langfristige Entwicklung von europäischen Metropolen der Vormoderne zu erforschen. Mit der Fokussierung auf diesen Zeitraum schließt das Graduiertenkolleg eine Forschungslücke zu den bekannten Forschungen, die sich unter dem Stichwort „Metropolian Studies“ mit den Entwicklungen von Städten und Metropolen im letzten Jahrhundert bis hin zur Gegenwart befassen. Sprecher des auf viereinhalb Jahre angelegten Verbundes ist Prof. Dr. Jörg Oberste, Inhaber der Professur für Mittelalterliche Geschichte und Historische Hilfswissenschaften an der Universität Regensburg.
Graduiertenkollegs sind Einrichtungen der Universitäten zur Förderung des wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchses, sie werden von der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft für höchstens neun Jahre gefördert. Im Mittelpunkt eines Graduiertenkollegs steht die Qualifizierung von Doktorandinnen und Doktoranden im Rahmen eines thematisch fokussierten Forschungsprogramms.
Ansprechpartner für Medienvertreter:
Prof. Dr. Inga Neumann
Lehrstuhl für Tierphysiologie und Neurobiologie
Telefon: 0941 943-3053
Prof. Dr. Jörg Oberste
Professur für Mittelalterliche Geschichte und Historische Hilfswissenschaften
Telefon: 0941 943- 3536
Bildunterschrift: Prof. Dr. Inga Neumann (vordere Reihe, 2.v.r.), Prof. Dr. Udo Hebel, Präsident der Universität Regensburg (1.v.l.), Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Korber (2.v.l.), Vizepräsident für Studium, Lehre und Weiterbildung an der Universität Regensburg, mit den Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmern des Graduiertenkollegs „Neurobiologie emotionaler Dysfunktionen“.
Foto: Universität Regensburg, Referat II/2 – Kommunikation, Lena Schabus– Zur ausschließlichen Verwendung im Rahmen der Berichterstattung zu dieser Pressemitteilung!
26. April 2017
Festsaal Bezirk Oberpfalz, Regensburg
The GRK is going to start on 1st March!
Weekly seminars will start on Monday, 6. March 2017, 12 c.t. in WNDE_2.121
...more information will follow
Interested students are invited to apply via our ONLINE APPLICATION SYSTEM - applications by email can not be considered.
Die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) hat die Einrichtung des Graduiertenkollegs „Neurobiologie emotionaler Dysfunktionen“ an der Universität Regensburg bewilligt. Der neue Forschungsverbund wird ab 2017 über einen Zeitraum von 4,5 Jahren mit etwa 3,8 Mio. Euro gefördert. Ziel ist die Erforschung der Ursachen von Angst- und Depressionserkrankungen, aber auch von exzessiver Aggression.Beteiligt ist die Fakultät für Biologie und Vorklinische Medizin (Prof. Dr. Inga Neumann (Sprecherin), Prof. Dr. Gunter Meister, Prof. Dr. Veronica Egger, PD Dr. Oliver Bosch, Dr. Trynke de Jong), Fakultät für Medizin (Prof. Dr. Rainer Rupprecht, Prof. Dr. Christian Wetzel, Prof. Dr. Eugen Kerkhoff, PD Dr. Caroline Nothdurfter, Dr. Barbara Di Benedetto), sowie die Fakultät für Psychologie, Pädagogik und Sportwissenschaft (Prof. Dr. Andreas Mühlberger). Assoziierte Mitglieder sind Prof. Dr. Mark Greenlee (Psychologie) und Prof. Dr. Armin Buschauer (Chemie und Pharmazie). Zur Pressemitteilung