Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

New publication from the Capogna group from AU and the Sørensen group at AUH

Collaboration between the Capogna group from AU and the Sørensen group at AUH leads to a discovery on the cellular mechanism of action of dopamine in the human cerebral cortex.

Emma Louth prepares cortical tissue from a neurosurgical patient before quick transport from AUH to AU lab.

The neuromodulator dopamine (DA) plays a key role in gating cortical operations underlying cognitive functions in health and disease, but how does this  work at a cellular level? The study published online by Frontiers this week, performed by Emma Louth et al, shed some light on this important question. Human brain tissue samples were obtained from AUH in collaboration with the neurosurgery team led by JC Sørensen, an approach unprecedented in Denmark. Patients in this study were undergoing surgery for a deep brain tumor and the samples used were from surgically excised tissue that needed to be removed in order to gain access to the tumor.


Emma found species-specific DA modulation of spike timing dependent plasticity, a phenomenon that represents a cellular model of memory, in mouse versus human cortex. Specifically, Emma’s data suggests that DA is less potent to modulate cortical GABAergic neurons in human than in mouse cerebral cortex. The data strengthens the importance of DA in gating cognition in humans, and may inform future research on therapeutic interventions to recover brain function from diseases.

The paper is available online at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fncel.2021.668980/full