“Studying Brain Connectivity in Rodents with MRI: Translational Perspectives”
Dr. Meltem Karataş
University of Strasbourg, University of Freiburg
Date/Time: Friday, February 7th, 12:40 pm
Place: Seminar Room, SC 106
Abstract: Rodent brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a promising tool for translational research as rodents are used routinely for the investigation of neuropsychiatric disorders. Similar neuroimaging methods exist for both clinical and preclinical settings, facilitating the interpretation of results across species. In particular, resting-state functional MRI (rsfMRI) and diffusion MRI were exploited to reveal the architecture of brain functional communication pathways as well as their microstructural substrates in rodents, respectively. Utilizing these techniques, a longitudinal imaging study was designed to obtain a signature of brain connectivity modifications in a mouse model of neuropathic pain-induced depression over time. Chronic pain conditions frequently lead to anxiety and depressive disorders, reducing the quality of life for patients further. Despite substantial clinical research, the mechanisms underlying this highly prevalent comorbidity remain elusive. Our results in the neuropathic mice model show remarkable structural and functional changes in brain networks following the induction of pain and the emergence of depressive phenotype. Principal alterations appeared in the networks encompassing the reward circuit and default mode network (DMN), which are known to be involved in both chronic pain pathologies and major depression. The long-term objective of this project is to develop novel diagnostic markers and therapeutic strategies to be translated from bench to bedside.
About the Speaker: Meltem Karataş recently obtained her Ph.D. degree in neuroscience from both Strasbourg University, France and Freiburg University, Germany as part of the Erasmus+ NeuroTime Joint Doctoral Program. Her research focused on the investigation of brain structural and functional connectivity signatures of chronic pain-induced depression, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in a mouse model. She employed state-of-the-art neuroimaging techniques and behavioral experiments to reveal causal links between brain network perturbations and pain-depression comorbidity. She is particularly interested in rodent neuroimaging as a translational tool to shed light on the underlying mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disorders, to develop diagnostic markers and novel therapeutic strategies. She graduated from Hacettepe University, Faculty of Medicine in 2012 and worked in the Physiology Department of Ege University, Faculty of Medicine as a research assistant for a short period before commencing her doctoral studies in 2014.