We have recently demonstrated that microglia can exert a dual and opposing influence over adult neurogenesis (the birth of new neurons) in the hippocampus under different physiological conditions, namely exercise and ageing, and that signalling through the chemokine receptor, CX3CR1, critically contributes towards this (Vukovic et al., 2012, J Neurosci). We have also generated novel evidence that ongoing neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus is critical for new learning but does not play a role in memory recall (Vukovic et al., 2013, J Neurosci).

Our goal is now to elucidate exactly how physiological changes associated with exercise, as well as ageing, influence microglial function and adult neurogenesis. The ultimate goal of our work is to link cellular events to altered behaviour, and to harness the regenerative potential of neural stem/progenitor cells to stimulate optimal cognitive function and treat conditions associated with learning and memory deficits such as dementia.

Lab head

Ortega FJ, Vukovic J, Rodríguez MJ, Bartlett PF (2014) Blockade of microglial KATP channels abrogates suppression of inflammatory-mediated inhibition of neural precursor cells. Glia 62: 247-258

Vukovic J, Borlikova GG, Ruitenberg MJ, Robinson GJ, Sullivan RKP, Walker TL, Bartlett PF (2013) Immature doublecortin-positive hippocampal neurons are important for learning but not for remembering. The Journal of Neuroscience 33: 6603-6613

Vukovic J, Bedin AS, Bartlett PF, Osborne GW (2013) A novel fluorescent reporter CDy1 enriches for neural stem cells derived from the murine brain.Stem Cells and Development 22: 2341-2345

Vukovic J, Colditz M, Blackmore DG, Ruitenberg MJ, Bartlett PF (2012) Microglia modulate hippocampal neural precursor activity in response to exercise and ageing. The Journal of Neuroscience 32: 6435-6443

Blackmore DG, Vukovic J, Waters MJ, Bartlett PF (2012) GH mediates exercise-dependent activation of SVZ neural precursor cells in aged mice. PloS One 7: e49912

Walker TL, Vukovic J, Koudijs MM, Blackmore DG, Mackay EW, Sykes AM, Overall RW, Hamlin AS, Bartlett PF. (2012) Prolactin stimulates precursor cells in the adult mouse hippocampus. PloS One 7: e44371

Vukovic J, Blackmore DG, Jhaveri D, Bartlett PF (2011) Activation of neural precursors in the adult neurogenic niches. Neurochemistry International 59: 341-346

Honours:

The following Honours projects are currently available:

  • The role of microglia in regulating neurogenesis and learning/memory
  • Characterisation of hippocampal neurons important for spatial learning

Find out more about our research environment and how to apply to do a short or long-term research project with us.