Molecular neuroimaging of synaptic plasticity in the human brain - Pharmacological modulations and stroke (UCB-J project)
Synapses are the points of communication between neurons and they are subject to adaptations to the extent to which they are used, i.e., synaptic plasticity, which is key to enforce learning or rehabilitation. In this project, we will investigate synaptic plasticity with a novel radioligand 11C-UCB-J and positron emission tomography (PET). This enables neuroimaging of the presynaptic marker, synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A (SV2A).
We will examine synaptic plasticity in healthy people exposed to two different antidepressants, i.e., serotonin transporter inhibitors (SSRI) and the psychedelic drug psilocybin, both known to increase synaptic density in animals. Next, in a longitudinal setup in patients, we will follow the regeneration of synapses following stroke.