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 Animal research

 Characterization of genetically modified mice

Using a combination of different MRI and MRS methods, mouse mutants lacking a specific synaptic localized protein are characterized both on a structural, functional, and biochemical level. In cooperation with the Department of Neurochemistry and Molecular Biology, different knockout mice will be studied, in which the expression of one synaptically localized proteins (e.g. Bassoon, Brevican, SerSAP, Picollo, Neurexin) is prevented. In addition to the search for anatomical and structural differences, the neuronal activation pattern will be visualized, both during resting conditions by manganese-enhanced MRI and after specific stimulation paradigms by fMRI. Observed structural and functional differences in these knockout mice will increase the understanding how the loss of a single synaptic protein can affect complex brain functions like learning and memory.

Collaboration: Dr. W.D. Altrock, Dr. A Fejtová, Prof. Dr. E.D. Gundelfinger, PD Dr. C.I. Seidenbecher, Dr. C. Spilker (all IfN); Prof. Dr. M. Missler (OvGU)

Fig. Phenotyping of genetically modified mice by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).
Left: T2-weighted horizontal image of a mouse brain.
Right:
Colour-coded map of diffusion values of water determined by DTI. Here, the colour refers to the orientation of the eigenvector of the principal diffusion direction and the intensity of the colour to the value of the diffusion anisotropy. The dimensionless diffusion anisotropy is usually given as the so-called Fractional Anisotropy (FA) between 0 (isotropic diffusion in an environment with no structural restriction) and 1 (highly anisotropic diffusion in an ordered environment)

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