UROP Project

UNDERSTANDING THE PHYSIOLOGY AND MORPHOLOGY OF NEURONAL POPULATION IN LAYER 5 OF PREFRONTAL CORTEX OF RATS

Contact

Name

Daniel Holder

Program Director UROP

Telephone

workPhone
+49 241 80-90695

E-Mail

Key Info

Basic Information

Project Offer-Number:
1044
Category:
UROP International
Field:
Biology
Faculty:
1
Organisation unit:
Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, RWTH Aachen University.
Language Skills:
Proficiency in English.
Computer Skills:
Fluent in Microsoft Tools, Proficiency in the use of the MAC/PC

JARA-BRAIN Translational Brain Medicine

The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is known for its prominent role in social conduct, decision making, resolving and reasoning abilities. Physical or mental disorders associated with the PFC can disrupt several associated circuitries that disturb normal functionality. The PFC is densely interconnected with other cortical regions as well as sub-cortical structures. The PFC is densely innervated by ascending serotonergic, dopaminergic and noradrenergic axons from dorsal raphe nuclei, ventral tegmental area and locus coeruleus, respectively. In turn, layer 5 pyramidal neurons send descending glutamatergic axons back to these brainstem regions and other subcortical structures. PFC possesses diverse subtypes of both excitatory glutamatergic (∼75–80%) and inhibitory GABAergic (∼20%) neurons. Therefore, studying the physiology and morphology of the neuronal population in layer 5 of the PFC helps to better understand the cellular basis of this cortical region.

Task

The aim of this mini-project is to find the effects of 5-HT application in the physiological changes (change in membrane potential and other passive properties) of layer 5 neurons (pyramidal neurons and interneurons) in wildtype rats, using whole-cell patch clamp recordings. During recordings, the neurons are filled in with a dye that helps in tracing and reconstructing the entire morphology of patched neurons. This way the physiology of a single neuron and its respective morphology can be studied at the same time.

Requirements

Basic understanding of cell biology and cell physiology. Keen interest in data analysis.