Mechanobiology & the Ageing Brain

 

During development, the mechanical properties of brain tissue can influence important processes like axon guidance (Koser et al. 2016). Likewise, in the ageing brain, the physical properties of the CNS micro-environment change and this may impact neuron and glial functioning.

Our lab studies how changes to the mechanical properties of neurons, glial cells and the extracellular matrix of brain tissue might play a role in cognitive decline or neurodegeneration in old age. We are also interested in how amyloid plaque pathology alters the mechanosensitivity of neurons and glial cells in the ageing hippocampus (Velasco-Estevez et al. 2018)

 

FIGURE 1: Hippocampal dentate gyrus immunofluorescently-labelled with propidium iodide (cell nuclei; purple) and polysialylated-neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM; green).

 

FIGURE 2: EGFP-labelled CA1 pyramidal neuron in an acute hippocampal slice