The Organisation

The DZNE is a center of excellence within the Helmholtz Association that performs translational research on Neurodegenerative Diseases. The center includes nine high-performing sites in Berlin, Bonn, Dresden, Göttingen, Magdeburg, Munich, Rostock/Greifswald, Tübingen and Witten. Researchers at DZNE are engaged in understanding commonalities and differences between various brain diseases with the aim of developing new preventive and therapeutic approaches. At DZNE, fundamental research is tightly interconnected with clinical, epidemiological and health sciences with the aim of finding new diagnostic markers and enabling rapid development of new cures. 

Fundamental research at DZNE comprises various themes, including:  

  • Ageing and age-related cognitive impairment
  • The synapse and its dysfunction in disease
  • Inflammatory responses and their possible role in neurodegeneration
  • Protein dysfunction and axo-dendritic injury
  • Disease mechanisms in diseases models

The DZNE Magdeburg offers an excellent infrastructure in a unique research environment with combination of animal and clinical research. There are numerous opportunities for collaborations with research groups at Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology and other DZNE centers.

The Team

Formation and activity of synaptic connections between neurons require adhesive interactions between cells and their extracellular environment, which involve cell adhesion and extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules. These molecules regulate synaptogenesis, synaptic and extrasynaptic transmission and plasticity. In fact, a synapse can be viewed as a tetrapartite system composed of pre- and postsynaptic specializations, glial terminals and (peri)synaptic ECM.  

The Molecular Neuroplasticity research group aims:

  • to uncover novel mechanisms by which the ECM and cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) control learning-induced synaptic plasticity and homeostatic regulations in the brain; 
  • to characterize how dysregulation in expression and posttranslational modifications of these molecules, their receptors and ectoproteases may induce neuroinflammation and synaptic dysfunctions in major neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases, including epilepsy; 
  • to develop new CAM- and ECM-targeting  strategies for restoration of synaptic and cognitive functions in animal models of these diseases.

For more information about our research, please see recent papers and reviews: 

  • Dityatev & Rusakov (2011) Molecular signals of plasticity at the tetrapartite synapse. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2011, 21:353-9; 
  • Caiazzo et al. (2011) Direct generation of functional dopaminergic neurons from mouse and human fibroblasts. Nature 476:224-7;  
  • Dityatev et al. (2010) The dual role of the extracellular matrix in synaptic plasticity and homeostasis. Nat Rev Neurosci. 11:735-46; 
  • Kochlamazashvili  et al. (2010) The extracellular matrix molecule hyaluronic acid regulates hippocampal synaptic plasticity by modulating postsynaptic L-type Ca2+ channels. Neuron 67:116-28.

DZNE Journal Cover

Contact Us

Prof. Alexander Dityatev


Page last modified on 05 may 15 13:39