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Mechanobiology of the brain in ageing and Alzheimer's disease

Hall, CM; Moeendarbary, E; Sheridan, GK; (2020) Mechanobiology of the brain in ageing and Alzheimer's disease. European Journal of Neuroscience 10.1111/ejn.14766. (In press). Green open access

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Just as the epigenome, the proteome and the electrophysiological properties of a cell influence its function, so too do its intrinsic mechanical properties and its extrinsic mechanical environment. This is especially true for neurons of the central nervous system (CNS) as long‐term maintenance of synaptic connections relies on efficient axonal transport machinery and structural stability of the cytoskeleton. Recent reports suggest that profound physical changes occur in the CNS microenvironment with advancing age which, in turn, will impact highly mechanoresponsive neurons and glial cells. Here, we discuss the complex and inhomogeneous mechanical structure of CNS tissue, as revealed by recent mechanical measurements on the brain and spinal cord, using techniques such as magnetic resonance elastography and atomic force microscopy. Moreover, ageing, traumatic brain injury, demyelination and neurodegeneration can perturb the mechanical properties of brain tissue and trigger mechanobiological signalling pathways in neurons, glia and cerebral vasculature. It is, therefore, very likely that significant changes in cell and tissue mechanics contribute to age‐related cognitive decline and deficits in memory formation which are accelerated and magnified in neurodegenerative states, such as Alzheimer's disease. Importantly, we are now beginning to understand how neuronal and glial cell mechanics and brain tissue mechanobiology are intimately linked with neurophysiology and cognition.

Type: Article
Title: Mechanobiology of the brain in ageing and Alzheimer's disease
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/ejn.14766
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/ejn.14766
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2020 The Authors. European Journal of Neuroscience published by Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease, atomic force microscopy, hippocampus, magnetic resonance elastography, mechanotransduction
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Mechanical Engineering
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10099640
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