Title: Anke Dijkstra, VUmc medical center
Start date: Jan 25 2018
Start time: 11:15 am
End time: 12:15 pm
Location: Max Planck House Lecture Hall

The Von Economo neurons (VENs) are selectively vulnerable in the earliest stages of the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). VENs are neurons with a unique morphology, found Layer 5 of the human anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and frontoinsular cortex (FI). VENs have been identified in highly social mammals, such as primates, cetaceans and elephants. Together with a subset of neighboring pyramidal neurons in the ACC and FI, VENS possess a monoaminergic phenotype and express the GABA receptor subunit theta (GABRQ). Here, we aim to determine if this cortical population is selectively vulnerable in bvFTD and identify cell-specific biochemical properties that can contribute to this vulnerability. To this end, we use post-mortem tissue from the ACC of controls, and donors with bvFTD. For quantification, we used formalin-fixed tissue or immunohistochemistry and determined ratios of GABRQ-expressing neurons across donor groups. Single–cell proteomics on snap-frozen tissue was used to identify unique protein expression patterns of VENs. We found that the GABRQ-expressing pyramidal neurons share the selective vulnerability with VENs in bvFTD, which strengthen the hypothesis that these neurons are part of the same population. Preliminary data of single-cell proteomics has identified 10 proteins that are selectively expressed in VENs. These proteins will be further explored in relation to their contribution to vulnerability in bvFTD.

Host: Henry Evrard

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