Professor Margaret McCarthy

School of Medicine

University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA

Title: "Microglia, Maleness and Marijuana: How Endocannabinoids Sculpt Brain Sex Differences"

Abstract: Sex differences in the brain are established early in development and generate lasting changes in brain and behavior. Sexual differentiation of the amygdala is responsible for producing a highly conserved sex difference in juvenile rough-and-tumble play behavior. Microglia, the resident immune cells of the brain, actively shape the sexual differentiation of the amygdala by engulfing and phagocytosing newborn cells destined to become astrocytes. Perinatal androgens in males increase endocannabinoid tone, which in turn increases the percentage of phagocytic microglia during the first few days of postnatal life. Ultimately, masculinization of social play by androgens is dependent upon endocannabinoid signaling during a brief developmental window, and microglial control of astrocyte number is critical to establishing the neural circuitry of this complex social behavior. 


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.

Seminars in the QBI Auditorium on Level 7 are held on Wednesdays at 12-1pm, which are sometimes simulcast on Zoom (with approval from the speaker). We also occassionally hold seminars from international speakers 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