New funding from Elsassfonden

Congratulations to NRU senior researcher Jens D. Mikkelsen for receiving a new research grant from Elsassfonden. The grant is worth 1 million DKK and is for the project entitled 'Synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A (SV2A) used as a novel biomarker of synaptogenesis in models of cerebral palsy (CP)'.

Project abstract: When the brain changes in response to stimuli it is referred as brain plasticity. When plasticity occurs, the individual nerve cells change their inner machinery, establish novel contacts (called synapses) to other nerve cells, and break others. However, all this occurs at the cellular level and we can only detect brain plasticity today if we remove the brain and study the synapses biochemically or in the microscope. This strongly limits our ability to determine if treatments are printed in the brain in real time. Most importantly, it also prevents our ability to observe changes in the brain of patients with neurological including cerebral palsy. This is very important, because such changes occur early in the disease processes. Very recent discovery of radiotracers that bind to the synaptic vesicle protein, synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A (SV2A) and imaging may revolutionize our ability to measure synaptic density in the living brain as an indicator of brain plasticity. We have already made significant progress in the validation of these radiotracers. In this project, using own synthesized radiotracers and validated methods, we will define the changes in binding and measure and correlate binding of these tracers in animal models of cerebral palsy as well as in fresh tissue from patients that underwent neurosurgical operation for epilepsy as an important contribution for novel diagnostics in psychiatry and neurology.