A/Professor Tom Burne,

Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland

Title:  "The role of vitamin D in the adult brain"

Abstract: Neuropsychiatric disorders are very disabling and their causes are generally poorly understood. Much of the disability associated with these disorders, such as schizophrenia, depression and cognitive impairment, cannot be avoided even with optimal treatment, and this creates an urgent need to evaluate known risk factors that may eventually lead to both prevention and better treatments of these diseases. Over the last decade our group has undertaken a coordinated program of research developing animal models that link neonatal vitamin D deficiency with a range of neurobiological outcomes. However, the mechanisms linking vitamin D with psychiatric disorders remain poorly understood. It is possible that exposure to adult vitamin D (AVD) deficiency may contribute to adverse mental health outcomes. While there is some evidence to suggest that those with AVD deficiency may be at increased risk of subsequent first onset of neuropsychiatric disorders, we speculate that worse outcomes will be experienced by those with a prior (established) brain disorder who in addition have AVD deficiency. In this talk I will discuss the molecular signalling changes resulting from vitamin D deficiency and explore the extent to which they underlie cognitive dysfunction in people. Using a mouse model we have established that the hippocampus is affected by AVD deficiency and our evidence points to alterations in a sub-population of inhibitory interneurons, which in turn leads to structural and functional changes in connectivity. If these changes generalise to humans, then this research could have important public health implications because one third of adult Australians are exposed to suboptimal levels of vitamin D, and up to two thirds of neuropsychiatric patients are vitamin D deficient. This research will have translatable implications for public health because vitamin D deficiency can be treated.

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.

The scheduled QBI Neuroscience Seminar series are held on Wednesdays from 11am-12pm in the Level 7 Auditorium of the Queensland Brain Institute, Building 79, St Lucia Campus, The University of Queensland. Additional seminars may be held at other times as listed below.


Neuroscience Seminars archive 2005-2018