Oligodendrocytes are specialised cells of the brain and spinal cord that form myelin. Myelin is the insulating layer around nerve axons and is essential for rapid conduction of information. As such, the normal functioning of oligodendrocytes is essential for Lifelong Health and Wellbeing. Most oligodendrocytes in the brain are generated around birth and during the first years of development. However, oligodendrocytes continue to be generated in the adult brain and this is important for replacing cells that are lost during normal ageing. Notably, generation of oligodendrocytes in the ageing brain can be inadequate for reparative processes, and this is important in age-related loss of white matter integrity and cognitive function. The mechanisms underlying white matter defects in the ageing brain are unresolved. Now, we have identified a specific cell membrane ion channel called Kir4.1 that is crucial for oligodendrocyte function. We propose to determine the mechanisms by which Kir4.1 regulates the generation of oligodendrocytes in the developing and ageing brain. This work meets the BBSRC Research Priority of Ageing Research (Lifelong Health and Wellbeing), and will make a significant contribution to addressing BBSRC core bioscience and thematic strategic priorities.
|Effective start/end date
|1/02/13 → 31/01/16
- Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council: £485,087.00
- Animal Science
- Cell biology
- Communication & signalling
- Systems neuroscience
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