Immune Mechanisms of Synapse Loss in Health and Disease


November 12, 2015 - 12:00pm
NW B103
About the Speaker
Beth Stevens (Children's Hospital)

One of the major unsolved mysteries in neuroscience is how synapses are eliminated in the developing and diseased brain. During development synaptic pruning is required for precise brain wiring; however the mechanisms that drive the elimination of specific synapses remain elusive. Emerging evidence implicates resident immune cells called microglia, and molecules traditionally associated with the immune system. This talk describes efforts to understand how immune -related pathways regulate the development, refinement, and elimination of specific axons and synapses during development. Illuminating the mechanisms by which developing synaptic circuits are sculpted is providing important insight on understanding how to protect synapses in neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders of synaptic dysfunction, including autism.