Prof. Dr. Pedro Michael Faustmann, Neuroanatomy, Faculty of Medicine
Astroglia is the most widely coupled cell population within the central nervous system and serves for a number of important physiological properties related to CNS homeostasis. Gap junction mediate the communication between individual cells, and connexin43 is the major gap junction protein in astroglial cells. Microglia represents the immunocompetent cells of the CNS. Under inflammatory conditions activated microglia is capable to produce pro-inflammatory cytokines which are prone to influence the extent of gap-junctional-coupling and membrane properties of astroglia.
In our studies we investigate 1. membrane properties using patch-clamp-technique combined with Lucifer yellow dye transfer, and 2. the connexin43 expression and microglial ED1 expression in immunofluorescent microscopy and Western Blot to see the functional coupling in astroglia/microglia-cocultures.
Untreated cultures are compared with those under inflammatory and antiinflammatory conditions, e.g. after application of pro- and antiinflammatory cytokines, Lipopolysaccharid, activated microglia or human cerebro-spinal fluid from patients suffering inflammotry CNS diseases like multiple sclerosis, meningitis or encephalitis.