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SFB 14 36: Neural Resources of Cognition - Unlocking the Full Potential of the Brain. TP A06: Neural resource mediated by BDNF-dependent neuroplasticity of cortico-hippocampal interactions
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) ;
Neuronal interactions between the hippocampus (HIP) and prefrontal cortex (PFC) mediate essential
cognitive brain functions including spatial learning and fear extinction. This project will study how performancedeficits due to pathophysiological or ageing-dependent malfunction in one of the two brain
areas can be ameliorated by BDNF release-dependent compensatory re-shaping of HIP-PFC synaptic
circuits. We hypothesise that the HIP-PFC synaptic circuit provides a platform to serve as a neural
resource that can be tuned by BDNF-dependent mechanisms and exploited as a neural reserve during
age- or disease-related malfunctioning. To test this, we will employ optogenetically controlled BDNF
release in separate experiments in HIP and PFC neurons, respectively, and investigate in a combined
in vivo and ex vivo approach (1) the mechanisms of HIP-PFC neuronal interactions that provide the
compensatory neural reserve/resource and (2) how unlocking this resource can improve cognitive
functions in adult, healthy, aged, and diseased mice.

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