Pharmaceutical Sciences' Labs Participate at Society for Neuroscience’s Annual Meeting

Three Deptartment of Pharmaceutical Sciences labs participated in Neuroscience 2022, the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting Nov. 12-16 in San Diego.

Christine Dengler-Crish Lab

Poster title: Female sex hormones mediate expression of neuroprotective factors following irisin treatment in female htau mice

Authors: Sarah J. Terrill, Katie A. Bretland, Veronica N. Palmer, Li Lin, Giovanna Leone, Sheila M. Fleming, Christine M. Dengler-Crish

Dr. Christine Dengler-Crish presented research showing that estrogens enhanced the neuroprotective effects of the myokine irisin on a form of Alzheimer’s disease brain pathology called tauopathy. However, female hormones could not completely account for a major sex difference her lab previously reported where irisin treatment had no impact on tauopathy in brains of male Alzheimer’s model mice.  These findings support growing evidence in the field that non-hormonal factors drive significant sex differences in dementia etiology and response to potential treatments.

The Fleming Lab

The Neurodegenerative Disease and Aging Research Focus Area was well represented at the Society for Neuroscience Meeting in San Diego this past November. EJ Hamad (M2), Josephine Lepp, and Fayez Almashhori (BMS student) from the Fleming lab presented research on exercise and Parkinson's disease, neurodegeneration-associated mitochondrial dysfunction, and metabolic syndrome-induced cognitive dysfunction.

Poster Title: Investigating the integrity of cholinergic brainstem nuclei in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease
Authors: Gabrielle Frame, Matthew A. Smith, and Christine M. Dengler-Crish

Gabbie presented a neuroanatomical study comparing cholinergic and non-cholinergic cells densities in three cholinergic brainstem nuclei- the parabigeminal, pedunculopontine, and laterodorsal tegmental nuclei, which revealed subtle, yet apparent changes in both cholinergic and non-cholinergic cell density with potential sex-specific effects impacting female, but not male, mice. Immunohistochemistry confirmed the presence of pathological tau and increased inflammation in all three nuclei of interest, suggesting that disease processes are impacting these regions. This study has major implications for Alzheimer's disease, as the three regions studied play a wide variety of roles in normal functioning including sensory processing, sleep-wake cycles, and motor function, all of which can be impacted throughout the course of Alzheimer's disease. 

The Smith Lab

Members of the Smith Lab traveled to San Diego along with more than23,000 neuroscientists from around the world to attend the five-day Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SFN). Neuroscience 2022 marked the return of the first in-person meeting since COVID. Shiv Dewan an undergraduate student working in the Smith Lab (pictures attached) presented his work looking at the impact on non-image-forming retina-brain circuits in an animal model of Alzheimer's disease. Mark Fusillo, a second-year medical student presented virtually on his work exploring early changes in optic nerve morphology in neurodegenerative disease.

Poster Title: Linking expression of neurosecretory proteins VGF and irisin across Alzheimer's disease progression

Authors: Katie A. Bretland, Steven R. J. Salton, and Christine M. Dengler-Crish

Summary: Katie Bretland, Ph.D. candidate, presented research showcasing two neuroprotective hormones (VGF and irisin) that have been well-established in the Alzheimer's literature as being deficient in AD patients and their regionalization and co-labeling within the hippocampus of a tauopathy-specific mouse model.  When examining each region of the hippocampus separately, it was found that these hormones trended towards having higher expression levels with increasing age and level of pathology-- although there were some sex-dependent trends that may become stronger as more subjects are added to the study. These findings are novel, as these two hormones have never been examined together. This data will support a more in-depth study that will work towards elucidating the specific cell-types that these hormones are being expressed in and further, how these hormones tie into tauopathy mechanistically. 

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