PhD: Karen Carney

"Proteomic Characterization of Perisynaptic Astrocytes in Synaptic Plasticity"

Defended in Amsterdam on December 18, 2014.



This PhD was jointly prepared in both teams of Stéphane Oliet (Neurocentre Magendie, Bordeaux) and Mark Verheijen / Guss Smit (Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, Amsterdam) in the frame of a partnership program between University of Bordeaux and University of Vrije (Netherlands).


Astrocytes are able to respond to a variety of transmitters, including glutamate, GABA, and ATP, indicating they are involved in a vast array of synaptic processes. Furthermore, alterations in tripartite synaptic function have been linked with neurological disorders such as epilepsy, depression, dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and schizophrenia, and thus the continued study of astrocytic contributions to synaptic function are of clinical and societal relevance. However, progress in this important field has been hindered by a lack of existing tools that can reliably evaluate the function and content of PAPs due to their extremely small (<1 µm diameter) nature. Therefore, there is a need for additional techniques that can give insight into PAP function and be used for evaluation of PAPs in experimental paradigms. In this thesis I have evaluated the potential utility of several preparations for the assessment of astrocyte proteins involved in the regulation of synaptic plasticity, and employed the most suitable of these preparations to measure regulation in astrocyte protein levels in models of synaptic plasticity.


Carney KE, Milanese M, van Nierop P, Li KW, Oliet SH, Smit AB, Bonanno G, Verheijen MH. Proteomic analysis of gliosomes from mouse brain: identification and investigation of glial membrane proteins. J Proteome Res. 2014 Dec 5;13(12):5918-27. 

Novel cell separation method for molecular analysis of neuron-astrocyte co-cultures. Goudriaan A, Camargo N, Carney KE, Oliet SH, Smit AB, Verheijen MH. Front Cell Neurosci. 2014 Jan 30;8:12.


  • Laurent Groc
    (IINS – Président), 
  • Giambattista Bonanno
    (Université de Gênes – rapporteur), 
  • Vincent Prévot
    (Inserm, Lille – Rapporteur), 
  • Agnès Nadjar
    (NutriNeuro – Examinateur), 
  • Sabine Spijker
    (Vrije University, Examinateur), 
  • Stéphane Oliet
    (Neurocentre Magendie, Directeur de Thèse), 
  • Mark Verheijen
    (Vrije University – Directeur de thèse), 
  • Guus Smit 
    (Vrije University – Directeur de thèse)

PhD co-supervisors

Mark Verheijen / Stéphane Oliet
Mark Verheijen and Stéphane Oliet

Mark Verheijen (left)
VU University Amsterdam.
Team leader Research Group: Neuron-Glia interactions
Assistant Professor

Stéphane Oliet

Directeur de recherche – PhD
Team leader:
Glia-neuron relations
Neurocentre Magendie
Bordeaux University

Last update: 18 December 2014