Science on Tap: How our smell changes through life and disease
Monday, October 17, 2022
The Hall CP, 4656 Hotel Drive, College Park, MD 20742
Speaker: Ricardo Araneda (University of Maryland)
Title: "Nose Knows Best: How our smell changes through life and disease"
Abstract: In humans, decreased olfactory performance is an early symptom in aging and in several neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. However, the mechanisms underlying this olfactory dysfunction remain unknown. We hypothesize that alterations in the regulation of brain circuits that process odor information lead to this deficit. In smell, odor signals from the nose reach first a brain region known as the olfactory bulb. In the bulb, inhibition plays an important role in neuronal computations underlying odor processing; this is highlighted by the presence of a large number of inhibitory neurons. Here, I will discuss our work on the regulation of these inhibitory neurons by neuromodulatory transmitters released by neurons of the basal forebrain, a brain region affected in neurodegenerative disorders. Understanding the neuronal basis of the adaptations occurring in healthy aging and in neurodegeneration will allow us to identify biomarkers that can be used for the diagnosis and treatment of the diseased brain.