Neural plasticity in the sympathetic-cardiac circuit, Presented by: Susan Birren, Ph.D., Zalman Abraham Kekst Professor of Neuroscience, Professor of Biology, Brandeis University

February 28, 2023
12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
3232 SW Research Drive
Portland, Oregon 97239
Room: M1441 Vollum Auditorium
Contact Information
Samantha Wagner
CPB Seminar: Dr. Susan Birren


The physiological functions of visceral organs such as the heart are maintained within a healthy range by a variety of homeostatic mechanisms, including the actions of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. However, one of the most common drivers of human disease is an imbalance in this autonomic system that is characterized by a pathological increase in sympathetic activity. How then do sympathetic neurons normally maintain their activity within a homeostatic range, and why is this regulation disrupted in hypertension and other disorders? In this work we use rat models and chemogenetic proteins to alter sympathetic activity and examine activity-dependent processes within the peripheral sympathetic ganglia. We find that that multiple plasticity mechanisms contribute to setting the level of sympathetic output and identify a role for sympathetic satellite glia in driving homeostatic plasticity in the sympathetic system.