The focus of my research is on the basic molecular mechanisms that underlie signal transmission at chemical synapses in the central nervous system. This includes identifying substances that may act as neurotransmitters at various types of synapse, and how regulation of neurotransmitter receptors and other signalling proteins contribute to changes in synaptic strength. To this end, I primarily use immunocytochemical techniques in combination with neuronal tract tracing and transmission electron microscopy to investigate the ultrastructural distribution of molecules of interest at central synapses, both in normal nervous tissue and in animal models of pain hypersensitivity.
Current projects include:
- Regulation of glutamate receptors and their interacting proteins at spinal sensory synapses in acute and persistent pain
- Synaptic distribution of a vesicular ATP transporter
- Glutamate as a cotransmitter in the striatum
See also my publication list.
Labeling of the AMPA-type glutamate receptor subunit GluA1 in nociceptive synapses in the spinal cord dorsal horn of control rats and of rats that had been subject to painful stimulation of the hindpaw. After the stimulus (capsaicin injection), GluA1 immunogold labeling is enriched at the postsynaptic membrane, suggesting recruitment of AMPA receptors to this type of synapse. The electron micrographs were colorized to indicate the presynaptic terminal (blue), the postsynaptic dendrite (green) and the synaptic cleft (red). nPC (non-peptidergic C fiber) indicates the terminal type, and the asterisk indicates the dark deposit produced by the neuronal tracer that was used to identify such terminals. Scale bar: 100 nm. From Larsson and Broman (2008) J Neurosci 28:7084 (@Pubmed).
An electron micrograph of an excitatory nerve terminal in the dentate gyrus exhibiting immunogold labeling of the vesicular glutamate transporter VGLUT1, which transports glutamate into synaptic vesicles (large gold particles) and of the vesicular nucleotide transporter VNUT, which transports ATP into vesicles (small gold particles; arrowheads). The presence of both these transporters suggests that this terminal uses both glutamate and ATP as neurotransmitters. t indicates the terminal, and s indicates a dendritic spine that forms a synapse with the terminal. Scale bar: 100 nm. From Larsson et al. (2012) Cereb Cortex 22:1203 (@Pubmed).
Name: Max Larsson
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Division of Neurobiology
SE-581 85 Linköping
Last updated: 2018-05-28