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Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research
Experimental Neurophysiology
De Boelelann 1085

1081 HV - Amsterdam

+31-(0)20-598 70 97 (office); 598 70 91 (lab)
+31-(0)20-598 71 12

Job opportunities

Dr Huibert D. Mansvelder
Synaptic and cellular mechanisms underlying acetylcholinergic actions on cognition
Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR) Amsterdam

Research Area

Tobacco is the single largest cause of avoidable death in the EU and currently 15% of all deaths in the EU can be attributed to smoking. The majority of smokers started smoking during adolescence, below the age of 20. Adolescent tobacco use increases the risk for developing drug abuse and cognitive and anxiety disorders in later life.

Nicotine is the major addictive substance in tobacco. In several studies I have identified synaptic and cellular mechanisms by which nicotine alters the function of brain reward areas. In the present project, I aim to delineate how nicotinic receptor stimulation during adolescence induces changes in brain plasticity, leading to cognitive disturbances in adulthood. Using a multidisciplinary preclinical approach at the behavioural, neurophysiological and molecular level I aim to reveal the critical changes that occur in the adolescent brain as a consequence of nicotine exposure using state of the art molecular and neurophysiological techniques.

By using transgenic animals and targeted expression of nicotinic receptors, I will study which nicotinic receptors and what neuronal mechanisms are responsible for long-term cognitive changed induced by adolescent nicotine exposure.

Couey J.J., Meredith R.M., Spijker S., Poorthuis R.B., Smit A.B., Brussaard A.B., Mansvelder H.D., (2007):Distributed Network Actions by Nicotine Increase the Threshold for Spike-Timing-Dependent Plasticity in Prefrontal Cortex..Neuron: 54(1):73-87
Chakravarthy S., Saiepour M.H., Bence M., Perry S., Hartman R., Couey J.J., Mansvelder H.D., Levelt C.N. (2006):Postsynaptic TrkB signaling has distinct roles in spine maintenance in adult visual cortex and hippocampus..Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A: 103(4): 1071-6
Mansvelder H.D., Keath J.R., McGehee D.S. (2002):Synaptic mechanisms underlie nicotine-induced excitability of brain reward areas..Neuron: 33:905-19
Mansvelder H.D., McGehee D.S. (2000):Long-term potentiation of excitatory inputs to brain reward areas by nicotine..Neuron: 27:349-57
Mansvelder H.D., Kits K.S. (1998):The relation of exocytosis and rapid endocytosis to calcium entry evoked by short repetitive depolarizing pulses in rat melanotropic cells..J Neurosci.: 18(1):81-92

Technical Expertise