SciNaPPs Lecture Series: The role of glia in the regulation of mood state and cognitive function

31 August 2012

Presented by Dr Frederick Rohan Walker, Biomedical Science University of Newcastle.

Our research group has determined that chronic uncontrollable stress affects microglial activity within the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and, that these alterations are meaningfully related to corresponding changes in PFC regulated cognitive function. Specifically, we have observed that chronic stress induced microglial alterations are positively correlated with increases in long-term neuronal activation. We have also determined that chronic stress impairs spatial working memory, a PFC dependent function, and that the putative anti-microglial activation drug minocycline improves this impairment. Chronic stress is unlikely to provoke changes in microglia via a classical inflammatory pathway as we could find no compelling evidence of increased pro-inflammatory cytokine release (IL-1ß) antigen presentation (MHC-II) or apoptosis (activated caspase-3). We have confirmed also that these changes are driven by stress induced disturbances in microglia-extracellular matrix interactions. Collectively, these results confirm that microglia play a significant role in mediating the effects of stress on the PFC and highlight a completely unexplored neurobiological mechanism through which they may accomplish this.

Time: 3.30pm - 4.30pm

Location: Level 5 Lecture Theatre, Brain & Mind Research Institute

Contact: A/Prof Wayne Reid

Email: 1f0e082a3143040d233c781c4a31270c334b0b1603400a134e

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