Matteo Bergami - C 3

Role of astrocytes in microvasculature remodeling following brain injury


By virtue of their intimate specialized connection with neurons and the brain vasculature, astrocytes regulate essential aspects of brain energy metabolism but are also invariably involved in most neurodegenerative and inflammatory disorders, leading to the emerging hypothesis that they may have a central role in orchestrating metabolic challenges during disease. Astrocytic end-feet functionally ensheathe most of the existing cerebral vasculature and are widely believed to serve as specialized dynamic exchange sites for ions, water and energy substrates between the blood and brain parenchyma. In physiological conditions, these functions contribute to neurovascular coupling via the regulated release of vasoactive molecules that modify the blood flow according to local neuronal activity. Conversely, the mechanisms underlying the structural/functional alterations of the microvasculature, particularly in pathological brain states, are poorly understood. In this proposal, we address the key question whether astrocytes play a pivotal role in the structural integrity/remodelling of the microvasculature following acute brain injury. To answer this question, we will utilize a combination of genetic tools and state-of-the-art imaging approaches to specifically assess and manipulate in-vivo signalling dynamics in astrocytic perivascular end-feet in a rodent model of acute cortical injury. The results will likely provide the experimental basis to crystallize new targeted approaches for ameliorating cerebral metabolism and facilitate tissue repair following injury.

Clinical/medical relevance and sustainability in disease understanding

The proposal addresses questions of key relevance in the fields of regenerative medicine and brain injury/energy metabolism. In particular, given the paucity of treatments for traumatic brain injury – a worldwide leading cause of death and disability – unveiling the mechanisms underlying the functional remodelling of the microvasculature holds potential for targeted therapeutic strategies to ameliorate brain tissue repair both in the acute phase and long-term progression of the disease.

Dr. rer. nat. Matteo Bergami

CECAD Cologne

Dr. rer. nat. Matteo Bergami

Principal Investigator C 3

Work +49 221 478 84250

CECAD Research Center
Joseph-Stelzmann-Str. 26
50931 Cologne

Publications - Matteo Bergami

Link to PubMed