Nishita Bhembre
Queensland Brain Institute
University of Queensland

Title: "Synaptic compensation following oligomeric Aβ induced-dendritic spine loss"


Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, is characterised by progressive loss of synapses and eventually neurons. Given that synaptic loss is the strongest correlate of cognitive deficits in AD, it is crucial to understand the synaptic repair mechanisms that might preserve cognitive function. I will present the findings from my PhD aiming to understand the protective compensatory mechanisms counteracting synaptic loss in an AD in vitro and in vivo models.
In this project, we first used amyloid beta oligomers (Aβo) to induce synapse loss in vitro in primary hippocampal neurons and then studied the ensuing synaptic compensation in surviving synapses over time. Following Aβo-induced synaptic loss, we observe a compensatory process through strengthening or enlargement of surviving synapses. I will also present the evidence for spatial and temporal characteristics of synaptic compensation and explain our first insights into the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying this process. Last, I will present recent preliminary data using in vivo two-photon microscopy investigating whether synaptic compensation occurs inside living intact brain
Collectively, the findings of my PhD thesis support the hypothesis that synaptic loss during early asymptomatic AD is structurally compensated at the level of individual synapses. Moreover, it raises the exciting possibility that boosting this compensatory capability might delay the onset of cognitive deficits in AD. 


About Neuroscience Seminars

Neuroscience seminars at the QBI play a major role in the advancement of neuroscience in the Asia-Pacific region. The primary goal of these seminars is to promote excellence in neuroscience through the exchange of ideas, establishing new collaborations and augmenting partnerships already in place.

While seminars in the QBI Auditorium have been suspended due to COVID-19, we will still be holding seminars via Zoom. The days and times of these seminars will vary depending on the time zone of the speaker. Please see each seminar listed below for details. 


Neuroscience Seminars archive 2005-2018