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Bioluminescence at the service of a novel cerebral imaging technique

is deeply embedded in the centre of the brain and has never been studied physiologically because it was always inaccessible to standard, fluorescent-type markers. Such recordings of the ellipsoid body have thus demonstrated the considerable sensitivity of this novel approach, while validating access to all structures, even those located deep in the brain. It will therefore be possible to study all neurons or cerebral structures using this approach.

This novel technique opens numerous perspectives. This tracer can thus be expressed in all cells of the brain nervous system (both neurons and glial cells) in order to monitor the activity of the whole brain. Preliminary data are already available. For the first time, it is possible to draw up anatomical and functional maps of the brain (in this case, of the Drosophila) based on long-term recordings. Such maps do not yet exist for any animal species, including man.

A funding application has been made to the ANR in order to build up functional maps of the Drosophila brain. These maps are a prerequisite to producing a mass of data on the global activity of the entire brain which will then serve as a reference to compare cerebral activity in different contexts: for example, differences between males and females (demonstration of sexual dimorphism) or as a function of age (changes to cerebral activity during ageing).

The Drosophila is an excellent model for the study of ageing and longevity, because it has recently been shown that flies endowed with a mutation of the insulin receptor live much longer. It is also possible to exploit the powerful genetic tools of the Drosphila to study and compare these maps in flies bearing different mutations, or in flies which serve as models for a variety of human pathologies, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease or Huntingdon's chorea, or in the context of a pharmacological approach regarding addiction to different drugs (alcohol, ni
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Source:CNRS


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