Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University


Seminars and Symposia

IDAC Seminar, 28 August 2015

Secretariat, Alumni Association, IDAC
Date Friday,28 August 2015, 15:00~
Room Smart Ageing Research Building International Conference Room
Title Microglia, neurodegeneration and new perspectives on an old molecule
Speaker Paul Matthews
Affiliation Imperial College London
Person-in-charge Yasuyuki Taki (Department of Nuclear Medicine and Radiologyex:8556)
contact: Susumu Yokota (Div. Cognitive Neuroscience ext.8457)
Abstract The “third element” of the brain identified by Hortega and characterized by Cajal includes microglia, now recognized for having unique roles in control of the environment of the neuronal-glial unit and in regulating key aspects of adaptive response. I will describe the development of molecular imaging approaches to visualizing the dynamics of microglial responses in human disease, which have re-focused attention on the 18 kD mitochondrial translocator protein. This work is providing novel disease insights, highlighting particularly the role of the innate immune response in neurodegeneration. However, there is an even richer story. The protein has been highly conserved through evolution, with functions expanding widely with differentiation of cell types to include roles in steroidogenesis and the regulation of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and rapidly dividing cell apoptosis. Uniquely, humans carry a functional polymorphism that appears to have functional effects. We are exploring the influence that TSPO may have on signaling to modulate glial inflammatory responses and reconsidering the pharmacodynamics of TSPO ligands. The talk will illustrate how an unexpected series of fundamental questions about microglial biology grew out of work intended “simply” to better image the brain.