Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health
Nerve cells

Michael Coleman

Michael Coleman is now Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, University of Cambridge. Visit his page there for full details of his current research.

Research Summary

Michael studies basic mechanisms regulating axon survival. Age-related axon loss contributes to declining memory, senses, autonomic nervous system (bladder, gut, etc.) and motor function, leading to physical frailty. It also sets the biological context for age-related neurodegenerative disease.
 

Latest Publications

A closer look at neuron interaction with track-etched microporous membranes.
George JH, Nagel D, Waller S, Hill E, Parri HR, Coleman MD, Cui Z, Ye H

Microporous membranes support the growth of neurites into and through micro-channels, providing a different type of neural growth platform to conventional dish cultures. Microporous membranes are used to support various types of culture, however, the role of pore diameter in relation to neurite growth through the membrane has not been well characterised. In this study, the human cell line (SH-SY5Y) was differentiated into neuron-like cells and cultured on track-etched microporous membranes with pore and channel diameters selected to accommodate neurite width (0.8 µm to 5 µm). Whilst neurites extended through all pore diameters, the extent of neurite coverage on the non-seeded side of the membranes after 5 days in culture was found to be directly proportional to channel diameter. Neurite growth through membrane pores reduced significantly when neural cultures were non-confluent. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that neurites bridged pores and circumnavigated pore edges - such that the overall likelihood of a neurite entering a pore channel was decreased. These findings highlight the role of pore diameter, cell sheet confluence and contact guidance in directing neurite growth through pores and may be useful in applications that seek to use physical substrates to maintain separate neural populations whilst permitting neurite contact between cultures.

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Scientific reports, 8, 2045-2322, 15552, 2018

PMID: 30341335

P7C3-A20 neuroprotection is independent of Wallerian degeneration in primary neuronal culture.
Hill CS, Menon DK, Coleman MP

The antiapoptotic, neuroprotective compound P7C3-A20 reduces neurological deficits when administered to murine in-vivo models of traumatic brain injury. P7C3-A20 is thought to exert its activity through small-molecule activation of the enzyme nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase. This enzyme converts nicotinamide to nicotinamide mononucleotide, the precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide synthesis. Alterations to this bioenergetic pathway have been shown to induce Wallerian degeneration (WD) of the distal neurite following injury. This study aimed to establish whether P7C3-A20, through induction of nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase activity, would affect the rate of WD. The model systems used were dissociated primary cortical neurons, dissociated superior cervical ganglion neurons and superior cervical ganglion explants. P7C3-A20 failed to show any protection against WD induced by neurite transection or vincristine administration. Furthermore, there was a concentration-dependent neurotoxicity. These findings are important in understanding the mechanism by which P7C3-A20 mediates its effects - a key step before moving to human clinical trials.This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CCBY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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Neuroreport, , 1473-558X, , 2018

PMID: 30334859

Low levels of NMNAT2 compromise axon development and survival.
Gilley J, Mayer P, Yu G, Coleman MP

NMNAT2 is an endogenous axon maintenance factor that preserves axon health by blocking Wallerian-like axon degeneration. Mice lacking NMNAT2 die at birth with severe axon defects in both the PNS and CNS so a complete absence of NMNAT2 in humans is likely to be similarly harmful, but probably rare. However, there is evidence of widespread natural variation in human NMNAT2 mRNA expression so it is important to establish whether reduced levels of NMNAT2 have consequences that impact health. Whilst mice that express reduced levels of NMNAT2, either those heterozygous for a silenced Nmnat2 allele, or compound heterozygous for one silenced and one partially silenced Nmnat2 allele, remain overtly normal into old age, we now report that Nmnat2 compound heterozygote mice present with early and age-dependent peripheral nerve axon defects. Compound heterozygote mice already have reduced numbers of myelinated sensory axons at 1.5 months and lose more axons, likely motor axons, between 18 and 24 months and, crucially, these changes correlate with early temperature insensitivity and a later-onset decline in motor performance. Slower neurite outgrowth and increased sensitivity to axonal stress are also evident in primary cultures of Nmnat2 compound heterozygote superior cervical ganglion neurons. These data reveal that reducing NMNAT2 levels below a particular threshold compromises the development of peripheral axons and increases their vulnerability to stresses. We discuss the implications for human neurological phenotypes where axons are longer and have to be maintained over a much longer lifespan.

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Human molecular genetics, , 1460-2083, , 2018

PMID: 30304512

Group Members

Latest Publications

A closer look at neuron interaction with track-etched microporous membranes.

George JH, Nagel D, Waller S

Scientific reports
8 2045-2322:15552 (2018)

PMID: 30341335

P7C3-A20 neuroprotection is independent of Wallerian degeneration in primary neuronal culture.

Hill CS, Menon DK, Coleman MP

Neuroreport
1473-558X: (2018)

PMID: 30334859

Low levels of NMNAT2 compromise axon development and survival.

Gilley J, Mayer P, Yu G

Human molecular genetics
1460-2083: (2018)

PMID: 30304512

Interaction between a MAPT variant causing frontotemporal dementia and mutant APP affects axonal transport.

Adalbert R, Milde S, Durrant C

Neurobiology of aging
68 1558-1497:68-75 (2018)

PMID: 29729423

TDP-43 gains function due to perturbed autoregulation in a Tardbp knock-in mouse model of ALS-FTD.

White MA, Kim E, Duffy A

Nature neuroscience
1546-1726: (2018)

PMID: 29556029

Neuronal Cell Death.

Fricker M, Tolkovsky AM, Borutaite V

Physiological reviews
98 1522-1210:813-880 (2018)

PMID: 29488822

Sarm1 Deletion, but Not Wld(S), Confers Lifelong Rescue in a Mouse Model of Severe Axonopathy.

Gilley J, Ribchester RR, Coleman MP

Cell reports
21 2211-1247:10-16 (2017)

PMID: 28978465